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Federal stimulus package likely, will help Southwest Virginia economy

Photo courtesy: MGN
Photo courtesy: MGN(WLUC)
Published: Mar. 25, 2020 at 7:09 PM EDT
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Tuesday marked the single best day for the Dow Jones since 1933.

That’s because the US Senate and the White House came to terms on a $2 trillion economic stimulus package amid the current

pandemic.

“The government has now become the employer of last resort, throwing everything they can to try to keep people on the payroll,” said Virginia Tech Finance Professor Derek Klock.

While the bill has not yet officially cleared both houses and been sent to the President, it appears likely it will provide stimulus checks – $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples, with $500 for child dependents -- plus extended unemployment insurance benefits and loans and grants for small businesses.

“What we’ve been able to do in our negotiations is take the initial package, make a lot of the loans forgivable loans if businesses keep their employees in place, and also expand the programs to include grant programs as well,” said US Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA).

During this difficult time, small businesses throughout the Roanoke Valley have struggled to stay open in some form or fashion, and to pay their employees.

Amanda Forrester, director of the Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center, said: “A lot of emotional decisions are having to be made along with being strategic with their finances to ensure that they are still standing and employees have somewhere to come back to to work.”

Amanda Forrester has been hosting video chat meetings with small business owners, walking them through how to secure disaster loans and how to defer payments.

“They ask questions, we talk about it, and the biggest feedback we’re getting is ‘thank you, we thought we were alone.’”

While this is a dark time for many, Virginia Tech's Derek Klock sees this stimulus package as a step in the right direction for our economy.

“Our economy was very, very strong going into this, and so the ability for it to weather this storm is in a much better place than it has been versus really any of the recessions that we’ve had over the past 50 years.”

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