New Hampshire Govt Expects Grant Repayment
One of the reasons that people or businesses that struggle financially appreciate grants is that, theoretically speaking, a grant is supposed to be money that's simply given to someone. Whereas a loan, on the other hand, is money that's given out with the expectation of repayment with interest. In America, the stimulus payments were initially considered grants, and the reason they were so popular with Americans is that they weren't expected to pay them back. Until tax time came, that is, and the average person did not receive their typical yearly refund but rather had to pay in to cover those stimulus checks. This seems to be a recurring theme, government taking back what it claimed was given for hardship. In New Hampshire, it was just announced on June 3 that the governor of the state is demanding repayment of grant money from some in the area.
The gist of the story is that New Hampshire, like many states, received billions upon billions of dollars in federal funding through the relief bill of 2020. States are under no obligation to pay this money back, supposedly. It was given to them to help citizens. However, as most governments do, states put a long list of criteria on the money before handing it out. In New Hampshire, the governor gave the money out as grants to businesses who either had to shut down or who were expecting huge losses in financial gains. This, of course, seemed like the axiomatic thing to do, if not the obligation of governments who didn't get the money to keep in the first place.
Though what's happening now is that the state's governor, Chris Sununu, has demanded repayment from some businesses whose losses weren't as big as expected. His logic for this is simply that some businesses were handed grants that they didn't ultimately end up using, as their businesses picked back up after the money was already awarded for hardship.
The governor is also claiming that this is not his doing but rather the federal government demanding that the money is returned. We searched around for stories about the federal government demanding Chris Sununu return the money, but we cannot find any such stories. It is perfectly reasonable to assume that these communications have not been made public and that New Hampshire is just trying to abide a federal request. Though, to date, all we have is New Hampshire's governor asking for the money back, with the stated reason that it's for the federal government.
Basically, businesses that received money yet did not need to spend all the money because they started making profits are expected to return the grant money. The biggest issues critics are having with this is just how you go about calculating those numbers. Rachel Volicki, a baker owner from New Hampshire who received a grant, said in a statement on social media that, "How do we know how to calculate this?" She went on to suggest that, "We used the money [here] to pay employees and buy products...and as we were using the money, our business picked back up." The point she's making is that the grant money helped her to turn a profit with her business, not that there's left over grant money that wasn't used. That's not how businesses work, she claimed. "We don't have separately labeled stacks of money. It's all in one fund: The business."
Government Goes Full Government and Complicates Matters
So, how does one calculate what portion of the grant money they needed and how much to return? As if the tax code for businesses wasn't complicated enough, New Hampshire's plan to ensure this money is returned by businesses is to create a separate set of state tax laws that demand business owners deduct their expenses as they're related to receiving grant money.
Ironically, with the extra time and tax assistance that it's going to take some struggling businesses to figure out if they need to legally return funds, they're liable to need another grant boost after depleting their coffers. "Leave it to government to make everything more complicated," said one Facebook user about the state's proposed laws.
Having to return grant money really stains the name "grants." If government intended for stimulus checks and federal grant money to be loans, they should have just claimed so. This is the sort of stuff that turns normal people into the dreaded "conspiracy theorists," as they wonder what's happening in a nation where grants magically become loans as soon as government wants to take money from businesses.
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