WAIT UNTIL NEXT WEEK: So says Alisha Curtis. (Photo from her state e-mail.)

The governor announced today that 8,191 businesses were in line to receive grants under the Ready for Business grant program, which was rolled out with many glitches, beginning with advance word to business insiders that left thousands in the cold until the legislature stepped in..

Advertisement

I asked under the Freedom of Information Act for the names and amounts.

This is the response I got from Alisha Curtis at the Commerce Department.  (Correction: I erroneously put Curtis in Workforce Services originally — which is a different arm of Secretary Mike Preston’s ‘transformed’ domain.)

Advertisement

 

 

Advertisement

As the governor stated, we have approved 8,198 businesses to receive payments totaling $91 million. The first payments were deposited into bank accounts today and will continue into next week. All businesses were sent an email notifying them of approval.

Approximately 4,000 applications are under a second level review due to unresolved tax issues, potential for duplicate submission, and missing information. The team at AEDC will be working over the holiday weekend to review these applications. We will have a full report of that approved amount by early next week.

I have expressed my view that information in the 8,191 should be available now under the state’s open record law. If the statement is accurate, a list exists in ready-to-copy form and there’s no argument that is not public information.

But the FOI law — and answering legislative questions — apparently are trifles to the Hutchinson administration. Sound a little like Donald Trump to you?

The legislature appropriated $147 million for this program. The recipients and amounts will be useful information. More interesting will be the applications and, particularly at the higher end, what expenses were said to be covered.

 

Advertisement

Help us report on the coronavirus crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping all aspects of life in Arkansas. We're interested in hearing from doctors, nurses and other health care workers; from patients and their families; from people in longterm care facilities and their families; from parents and students affected by the crisis; from people who have lost their job; from people with knowledge of workplaces or communities that aren't taking appropriate measures to slow the spread of the disease; and more.

Send us a tip
Previous article Today’s news: Virus, voting, money and more Next article The Bad Week Edition

Note to commenters: Due to issues with spam/scams and complaints with our former comments system, we have implemented a new system called Hyvor. You must create a new account (separate from any paywall accounts you may have) in order to leave a comment. The First and Last name field will display as your author name, so use a psuedonym if you want to retain anonymity. More info