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Wednesday, November 3, 2021

McKee takes his obsession with small business to a higher level

Free money to businesses that are short of workers

By Will Collette

Accidental Governor Dan McKee announced that starting tomorrow morning (Friday) at 7 AM and continuing until Friday, November 12, the state will give $5,000 grants to RI businesses with fewer than 200 employees if they are having trouble hiring enough workers.

McKee, who has made small business, loosely defined, even more revered than his beloved charter schools, has not missed an opportunity to shower gifts on them. He's done this since taking over the governorship after Gina Raimondo went to Washington to straighten out the national economy the way she did for Rhode Island.

Grant recipients are not required to pay back the money. Nor are they required to file any reports, though “employers must keep records of their activities in the event of an audit.” As if.

The money can be used for several vague purposes, such as paying “sign-on” bonuses, rewards to workers who recruit other workers or any “recruitment efforts” the employer sees fit.

Here's how the state's website puts it:

National chain businesses (e.g. McDonalds, IHOP, Dollar Store, Bank of America) are not eligible UNLESS it's through “independently owned and operated” franchises even if they are part of a regional/national franchise. Many chain businesses are franchises that claim they are independent when it is patently obvious they are not.

There is no requirement for businesses to do things to attract new workers like, oh I dunno, pay better wages, offer benefits, have reasonable work schedules, offer safer and healthier working conditions.

There is no provision in this grant program for using the money to provide these kinds of practical measures.

But that’s OK with Dan and, besides, do you REALLY think he’s going to order any audits? McKee is more likely to give each small business owner a personal foot massage than order an audit.

If you don’t believe me, go to the Back to Business Grant Program webpage. Be sure to read the “frequently asked questions.”

They plan to give away up to $4.5 million. The money is part of the federal American Rescue program.