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..

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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.)

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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.

 

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