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In a recent TV news segment a small business owner stated that she was not eligible for the WV CARES grant program, which has been formed to help small businesses. The reason? She has no employees. She is TOO small. Isn’t this the business that should be getting funding?

When the Small Business Administration (SBA) offered grants a few months ago, small businesses with no employees who didn’t make a lot of profit were not eligible for grant/loans. Why? Again, because they were TOO small. Do you see the irony here? The smallest of businesses, the ones that everyone gives lip service to as so important for a healthy economy, are being penalized for not being bigger.

The SBA said the grant/loans for these businesses were too small to fool with. According to the news report, the state has said that they are afraid of fraud because they can’t figure out how to verify the authenticity of these small businesses. Again the irony thing. We can give millions to large corporations but are worried that a few small businesses will beat the state out of five grand (that is the maximum grant amount).

Let’s not throw the baby out with the dishwater. No matter what, somebody will beat the system, but are we going to deny a whole group of small businesses access to grants while we help everyone else? I dare say a few larger businesses have defrauded the government for more than $5,000.

I suggest that the state verify these businesses with a state tax ID number and require a 2019 IRS Schedule C, which will allow the state to verify the authenticity of the application. This is what the SBA used to verify grant requests, so it was good enough for the feds. Let’s be fair to these to these smallest of businesses.

Stephen Zoeller

Scott Depot, W.Va.

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