The RI Small Business Coalition Open Letter to the General Assembly

by David Dadekian

The following is an open letter from The Rhode Island Small Business Coalition (RISBC) to all the members of the General Assembly urging action for small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Below the open letter is a PDF containing Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee‘s letter to Governor Gina Raimondo, forwarding the RISBC letter to the Governor.

The Rhode Island Small Business Coalition

November 17, 2020 

Dear Members of the Rhode Island General Assembly:

The Rhode Island Small Business Coalition urges you to step up and represent the small businesses in the communities you have been elected to serve. The General Assembly can and should start playing a significant role in helping small businesses navigate this pandemic and providing much-needed checks and balances with the Governor regarding a transparent allocation of the state’s $1.25B in CARES Act Funds.

As a grassroots coalition of thousands of local businesses from dozens of different industries, we strongly believe that our voices should be heard. The General Assembly must act swiftly and decisively to keep our small business community alive as the pandemic rages on. This second wave of the virus may result in a lockdown, which our small businesses do not have the cash flow to survive. Together, we are putting forth a list of urgent requests for you, our elected leaders in the legislative branch:   

  • Hold Governor Raimondo’s administration accountable and promote transparency 
    • Call for a weekly report on where the COVID-19 cases are coming from (specific business industries, schools, social gatherings, etc.)
    • Call for a weekly report on CARES Act fund allocation (allocated and real spend)
  • Support the immediate allocation of $75M in CARES Act funds to the Restore RI Grant Program 
    • This should be used to provide additional rounds of grants to previous recipients through a simplified application and to provide grants to businesses that haven’t applied
  • Support the allocation of an additional $75M in CARES Act Funds to the Restore RI grant program if business lockdown goes into effect
    • Increase the individual grant amount by basing the amount on fixed expenses (rent, insurance, utilities, etc.) in addition to number of employees 
    • The program should be open to all small businesses under 100 employees, regardless of industry 

These actions must be taken by the end of November as time is running out to spend the CARES Act funds before the December 30, 2020 deadline. Our economy will be forever changed if small businesses do not survive this pandemic. We need our elected leaders to do their part and ensure this does not happen. We thank you for your consideration and look forward to hearing from you. 


Chris Parisi, Co-Founder of RI Small Business Coalition

Download the above two document images as a PDF.

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