State Auditor And Working Group Try To Keep Wyoming’s Businesses Afloat

Mar 25, 2020

State Auditor Kristi Racines
Credit State of Wyoming

As the state and nation battle COVID-19, State Auditor Kristi Racines said that finding ways to help struggling businesses and those who have been laid off is difficult.

Racines is chairing a committee that's hoping to find ways to help businesses survive the pandemic. State law prevents Wyoming from providing much in the way of financial help, so they are working with banks and other entities to see if they can get businesses more time to pay off loans and rent.

Racines added they are also trying to help companies identify ways they can diversify, but she said it's not easy.

"I think I can comfortably say that no one is going to come out unscathed. No one is going to be held harmless from this situation," said Racines.

A few ideas have popped up, however. For example, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon asked the Wyoming Business Council to consider providing grant funding toward a creative effort by the state's breweries and distilleries.

"They're repurposing their workforce and equipment and abilities into manufacturing hand sanitizer. And then distributing it to those in need in their communities. Because you know you cannot procure hand sanitizer at the moment," said Racines.

She added that they are also discussing how the state might keep renters who have lost jobs from being evicted. And with small business owners particularly concerned about their employees, the group is looking into helping them find work in places where there are shortages, like grocery stores.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Bob Beck, at btwo@uwyo.edu.