Friday, August 28

These are tough times for our country. The coronavirus has killed over 181,000 Americans and the efforts to slow the spread of the virus has resulted in widespread unemployment. Nationally, over 27 million people are unemployed and the unemployment rate in Anchorage was 11 percent last month.

So far, the biggest disappointment in the pandemic response in Alaska is the flawed program to help small businesses. The intent of the AK CARES Grant Program was to get cash into the hands of small businesses. $290 million was dedicated for the program. However, only $50 million has been approved. This is unacceptable as small businesses are struggling and the jobs of thousands are threatened.

Lawyers and experts agree that Governor Dunleavy had the authority to fix the program that his administration designed and implemented in the first place. Unfortunately, it was allowed to continue not working just when it was needed the most. This has been a tortured process for Alaska's small business. Thursday, the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee (LB&A), which I chair, granted broad authority to the Governor to make needed changes to the program.

Three and a half months ago, lawmakers approved everything the Governor asked for to quickly get CARES Act funds to small businesses struggling for their very survival. It’s been clear for months that the Administration had the broad authority to get this relief to small businesses, but Thursday's action eliminates any uncertainty.

Below is information and links to the AK CARES Grant Program and some of the other help available to get us through this pandemic. I know it's not enough, but I am holding out hope that Congress and the Alaska Legislature can put aside election year politics and dedicate even more money and resources to the fight against the pandemic and the economic devastation it's causing to Alaska, our nation, and the world.

Please be safe,
Businesses who previously received over $5,000 in federal COVID-19 aid are now eligible for the AK CARES Grant Program.

  • Small business owners who have another primary source of income are also eligible to apply. 

  • The changes are scheduled to take effect on Monday, August 31. 

  • The program is still reserved for businesses with 50 or fewer employees.

The AK CARES Grant Program was previously expanded to include additional businesses.

  • Commercial fishermen.
  • 501(c)6 nonprofit organizations.

Online applications can be filed at

Funding Available to Help Anchorage Small Businesses
The Municipality of Anchorage is accepting applications for a program to help small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Applications can be filed online.
  • The application period closes at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 12.
  • Grants are limited to $10,000.
  • The program is limited to small businesses that employee 20 or fewer people.

Submit your application online at
Rent and Mortgage Assistance
The Municipality of Anchorage is using some of it's federal COVID-19 relief money to fund a pilot program to help people with rent and mortgage payments.

To apply, start by calling 2-1-1. You will be asked a series of questions. Applications will be accepted until all of the funds are exhausted or September 30, whichever comes first.
Coronavirus Nonprofit Relief Fund

$35 million in federal CARES Act funding was set aside to help nonprofit organizations in Alaska.

Also eligible:

  • Tribal organizations
  • Faith based organizations providing social services
  • Local governments

Grants can range from $25,000 to $1,000,000.

Round 3 applications are due by October 14.
[An] Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. - Article 1, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution

It's time for all of us to do our Constitutional duty and be counted. Time is running out. The deadline to fill out a census form is September 30.

Respond to the 2020 online at

  • File via telephone by calling 1-844-330-2020.

  • Count everyone living under your roof on April 1, 2020.

Census takers have started visiting homes that have not yet responded to the 2020 Census.

  • Avoid a knock on your door by filling out the 2020 Census online.
My 2020 end of session newsletter is now available. If you want a printed copy, send an email to or call my office at (907) 269-0240.

The newsletter includes information on the work of the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee and how the Alaska Legislature responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.