Kansas Governor Laura Kelly addressed the Kansas economic impact of coronavirus at a briefing March 20.
Gov. Kelly was joined by David Toland, secretary for the Kansas Department of Commerce; Chuck Magerl, owner of Free State Brewery in Lawrence; Delía García, secretary for the Kansas Department of Labor; and Dave Herndon, bank commissioner.
Gov. Kelly said her goal is to keep Kansans safe. However, she said major disruptions will cause a threat to Kansans and workers across the state. She said Kansas expects to qualify for up to $2 million in disaster assistance loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. It will extend to all 105 counties.
The governor also challenged her cabinet to think outside the box. She said rapid loan funds through the Kansas Department of Commerce through the Community Development Block program will provide assistance to their business.
Additionally, she said the hospitality industry has taken a direct hit and established the Hospitality Industry Relief Emergency or HIRE fund. (See more below)
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
The Kansas Department of Commerce Secretary David Toland said documentation was submitted on Tuesday from small businesses to the U.S. Small Business Administration. He said it is hoped that Kansas will be approved today or tomorrow and a direct link will be made on the department’s website.
“Once we receive this designation, low-interest loans of up to $2 million can be used for working capital to help small Kansas businesses suffering substantial injury as a result of coronavirus,” Toland said.
Second, Toland said there are already $6.3 million in Community Development Block Grant funds that reside within 37 Kansas communities to use them for revolving loan programs in their communities.
“Under normal circumstances, the process takes more than 30 days for communities to conduct environmental reviews and to issue public notices before a loan can be issued to a business. We have dramatically streamlined the process so these communities can issue working capital loans which are the loans most needed by small business right now in as little as two days,” he added.
Third, Toland announced the HIRE fund. Eligible businesses in Kansas will be able to apply for a one-time loan of up to $20,000 at 0% interest for a period of 36 months. There will be no principal or interest payments for the first four months.
EXAMPLES OF HOSPITALITY BUSINESSES INCLUDE:
- Lodging facilities
- Conference centers
- Event centers
Other hospitality businesses will be considered and may be approved on a case-by-case basis.
THESE FUNDS CAN BE USED AS WORKING CAPITAL FOR BUSINESS EXPENSES INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO:
- Commercial loan payments
- Commercial lease payments
- Utility bills
- Accounts payable
Funds will be strategically distributed across the state to maximize relief for all hospitality sectors across Kansas and focus on the areas most affected.
DISTRIBUTION WILL BE ALLOCATED AS FOLLOWS:
- $2 million to the KC Metro area (incl. Johnson, Wyandotte, Shawnee and Douglas counties)
- $1 million to Sedgwick County
- $2 million to the remainder of the state
IN ORDER TO BE ELIGIBLE, BUSINESSES MUST:
- Be an existing for-profit business located in Kansas
- Maintain a staff of fewer than 100 employees
- Have no outstanding state tax obligations
- Be willing to submit a personal guarantee of repayment from the owners of the business
Decisions on loan applications will be made within 72 hours of application receipt, 7 days a week. Funds will be transferred within 48 hours of approval. Read more here.
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Kansas Secretary of Labor Delia Garcia is working with her staff to support Kansas workers and employers.
“To convey the gravity of this situation, last week, Sunday through Thursday, we had 1, 296 unemployment insurance claims. This week, 11,355 claims. That is an increase of 10,059 in week one,” said Garcia.
Workers and employers are directed to the Kansas Department of Labor to learn how to file.
Garcia said due to the high call volume, the wait times on the phone are long. She said information online will speed up the process.
“Please know my team is doing the best we can to process these claims in a timely manner,” Garcia added.
For employers temporarily layoff employees, Garcia urges them to file by spreadsheet for unemployment benefit insurance. They will be able to provide them all at once instead of filing individually.
If you can’t utilize a website, call the Kansas Department of Labor hotline at 1-800-292-6333.
Kansas Bank Commissioner Dave Herndon said the state regulates banks chartered by Kansas and nonbank consumer credit providers. There are 189 state-chartered banks in Kansas and approximately 30 national banks.
Assets range from less $20 million to more than $5 billion.
“At the end of 2019, Kansas chartered banks had over $48 billion in assets, held over $39 billion in deposits, over $31 billion in funds extended in loans, nearly $6 billion in capital,” said Herndon. “Kansas banks are safe and Kansas banks are sound. That means your money in Kansas bank is also safe and sound.”