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Special session offers prospect of COVID relief for Colorado small businesses

Business owners: better late than never
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Posted at 4:22 PM, Nov 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-30 21:12:27-05

DENVER -- The bookstore at the corner of Broadway and Ellsworth in Denver has weathered many storms.

"This has been a bookstore here in this location for over 35 years," said Matt Megyesi, the current owner of Mutiny Bookstore and Coffee Café.

Of course, no one has ever seen a storm quite like this year’s COVID-19 crisis.

"Our business is doing okay,” Megyesi said. “We have a really good, loyal customer base, but I’m seeing a lot of businesses around here - some that have been here for a long, long time - just not being able to cut it."

Relief could be on the way.

“It’s our job," said Representative Perry Buck (R) Greeley.

On Monday, Colorado state lawmakers returned to the state Capitol for a special session called by Governor Jared Polis to address the COVID-related financial crisis.

As important as the session is, no one expects it to solve everything.

But - small businesses are banking on at least something and lawmakers are considering at least two relief packages for those small businesses.

One, proposed by Buck, would offer non-essential small businesses under 50 employees a grant of 50 percent of their annual income averaged over the past two years.

"And we’re going to try to prop them up by 50% of that net income," Buck said. “All businesses are essential, but I’m using the definition that the governor has used.”

Another proposed bill would exempt small businesses from paying taxes on their first $60,000 in sales this year.

Buck says lifting small businesses lifts the people who work there.

"It’s the moms; it’s the dads; it’s helping them in this time of crisis,” Buck said. “Nothing’s more infuriating to have a Walmart that’s open, a Target that’s open, but a small business is not open."

Megyesi agrees.

“There's a lot of my friends that are losing their jobs,” Megyesi said. “And they’re not going to be able to pay bills and pay rent. It’s good to see they’re working on it. I wish they would have worked on something like this a little sooner, but we also thought something was going to happen on the federal level sooner."