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Fort Smith/Fayetteville News | 5newsonline KFSM 5NEWS | Get the local news and weather where you live from 5NEWS. Covering Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville, and all of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

Rutledge allocates $3M to help small businesses during COVID-19 pandemic

The money will be sourced from the Attorney General’s Consumer Education and Enforcement Fund, which consists of monies from lawsuit settlements and not taxpayers
Credit: KFSM

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. —

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced Friday (March 20) allocating $3 million to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s (AEDC) Quick Action Loan Program for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

These funds will be in addition to the $4 million the Governor directed to the same program.

The announcement was made during Governor Asa Hutchinson’s daily briefing on COVID-19. 

The money will be sourced from the Attorney General’s Consumer Education and Enforcement Fund, which consists of monies from lawsuit settlements and not taxpayer dollars.

“This money will be a lifeline for many Arkansas small businesses owners and will help to protect them from the prolonged economic hardships these local job creators are now facing,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Small Businesses are the back-bone of our communities, and we must do everything we can to help them during these unprecedented times. Uniting our efforts will not only help stop this pandemic and heal those who are sick, but also help jumpstart our state as we recover from COVID-19.”

Since the Governor’s declaration last week, Rutledge has been enforcing the price gouging laws in the State that protect Arkansans. 

Earlier this week, letters were sent to Amazon, eBay and Walmart praising the companies for their proactive response in preventing price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic and encouraging them to take further action to stop bad actors from artificially raising prices on basic needs products during this public health crisis.

Arkansas’s price gouging law prevents individuals or businesses from increasing product prices by more than 10% of what the product would have cost prior to the state of emergency declaration on March 11, 2020. 

Violators can face criminal charges and fines as well as civil penalties of up to $10,000 per incident. Arkansans can report price gougers to the Attorney General’s Office at ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.

U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton—along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman announced that the Trump administration has approved a Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster declaration for economic injury as a result of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The declaration makes additional federal resources available to the state’s small businesses to provide needed relief during this unprecedented time.

“We are pleased with the administration’s quick response for federal assistance to Arkansas. This declaration is critical to supporting small businesses facing financial challenges as a result of the pandemic,” members said.

On Thursday, the Arkansas Congressional Delegation sent a letter to SBA in support of Governor Asa Hutchinson’s call for an emergency declaration.

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