• 66°

Guest Opinion: Congress again overlooks rural businesses during critical time

By Johnathan Hladik

As they continue to face challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic, rural small businesses and communities with loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program find themselves on the outside once again.

Provisions of the Rural Equal Aid (REA) Act, a measure with bipartisan support in the House and Senate, were left out of the latest round of stimulus funding approved recently by Congress.

Our elected officials have again let these rural entrepreneurs down and have forgotten the pandemic has been just as severe, if not more so, in many rural communities.

Under the REA Act, businesses with loans through the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program would have their principal, interest and associated fees covered for a six-month period. It also included loans through the Intermediary Relending Program and those made to public and nonprofit organizations for community facilities, and to businesses, cooperatives and nonprofits expanding in rural areas.

Those provisions were given to businesses with loans through the Small Business Administration as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act approved in March and in this latest round of funding, relief was extended a second time.

Similar support would have provided parity for rural communities. These are the loans that keep Main Street vibrant, making it possible for small community financial institutions to grow local economies with local dollars.

As the pandemic continues to impact our economy, we urge Congress to treat rural entities equally by including them in upcoming stimulus legislation.

Johnathan Hladik is a policy director for the Center for Rural Affairs.

FOR MORE COLUMNS AND LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, CHECK OUT OUR OPINION SECTION HERE.

News

Virtual boating safety Course planned for May

News

Size of pipeline spill in North Carolina underestimated for second time

News

Weekly gas price update for North Carolina

News

Recovery & Resilience town hall set for May

Business

Downtown Books to celebrate Independent Bookstore Day

News

Dare commissioners meet Monday

Crime

North Carolina man convicted of firearm charge, faces up to 120 months in prison

Lifestyles

Virginia Tillett recognized for dedication and leadership

Business

Merchant’s PACT hires payments industry leader from Currituck as chief business development officer

News

North Carolina Supreme Court: Landlord not liable for injuries caused by tenants’ dog

News

Dare commissioners advance Avon beach nourishment project

News

Duck approves Scarborough Lane Shoppes restaurant request, recognizes employees

Hyde

Venison breakfast sausage class set

Crime

North Carolina woman arrested for multiple counts of wire fraud and money laundering

Lifestyles

Medicaid education events set in Manteo and Buxton

News

North Carolina emergency response director Mike Sprayberry to retire

Business

Bill seeks to give additional state tax breaks on COVID-19 loans

News

North Carolina unemployment rate falls to 5.2% in March

News

North Carolina judge suspended for violating conduct code

News

Fatality reported in Southern Shores incident involving pedestrian and motor vehicle

News

Cooper and Cohen tour Kill Devil Hills vaccine clinic

Lifestyles

High school seniors honored with NCCF Coastal Stewardship Awards announced

News

Mega Millions ticket sold online in North Carolina wins $1 million prize

News

NC State researchers predict 2021 hurricane season will be active