RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced his American Rescue Plan spending proposal this afternoon in Virginia Beach. His first budget proposes that $353 million go towards boosting recovery among Virginia’s small businesses and industries hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Back in May, the governor and General Assembly leaders shared their priorities for the American Rescue Plan. Virginia is expected to receive $4.3 billion in federal funds after President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
“Virginia is roaring back stronger than we could have imagined one year ago, but small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and they need additional support to get back on their feet,” Governor Northam said.
During today’s announcement, the governor was joined by House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, and Delegates Kelly Convirs-Fowler, Nancy Guy, and Alex Askew for an event at Neptune’s Park on Virginia Beach’s oceanfront.
The leaders discussed Northam’s proposed $250 million investment in the Rebuild VA economic recovery fund, $50 million for Virginia Tourism Corporation initiatives and $53 million for other small businesses including the Industrial Revitalization Fund and Virginia Main Street program.
“With the American Rescue Plan, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rebuild from the impacts of the pandemic, revitalize our communities, and invest in our shared prosperity,” Northam said.
The Rebuild VA fund has helped more than 3,000 small businesses and non-profits since it launched in August 2020.
“Rebuild VA has been a lifeline of support for countless Virginia businesses,” Senator Janet Howell, Chair of the Senate Finance and Appropriations and Committee said. “With so many businesses still in the queue for funding, there is no question that the General Assembly needs to approve the full amount to provide support to these businesses, and to allow new applications to be filed.”
Northam also wants to help the tourism industry recover after they lost an estimated $14.5 billion in total tourism spending last year.
The governor is proposing $53 million for the Industrial Revitalization Fund and the Virginia Main Street program.
Ultimately, the General Assembly will oversee the allocation of these funds during the special session.
The General Assembly is expected to meet on Aug. 2 for a special session following Northam’s request.