LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced allocating $3 million to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s (AEDC) Quick Action Loan Program for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds will be in addition to the $4 million the Governor directed to the same program. The announcement was made during Governor Asa Hutchinson’s daily briefing on COVID-19. The money will be sourced from the Attorney General’s Consumer Education and Enforcement Fund, which consists of monies from lawsuit settlements and not taxpayer dollars.
“This money will be a lifeline for many Arkansas small business owners and will help to protect them from the prolonged economic hardships these local job creators are now facing,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Small Businesses are the backbone of our communities, and we must do everything we can to help them during these unprecedented times. Uniting our efforts will not only help stop this pandemic and heal those who are sick, but also help jumpstart our state as we recover from COVID-19.”
Since the Governor’s declaration last week, Rutledge has been enforcing the price gouging laws in the State that protect Arkansans. Earlier this week, letters were sent to Amazon, eBay and Walmart praising the companies for their proactive response in preventing price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic and encouraging them to take further action to stop bad actors from artificially raising prices on basic needs products during this public health crisis.
Arkansas’s price gouging law prevents individuals or businesses from increasing product prices by more than 10 percent of what the product would have cost prior to the state of emergency declaration on March 11, 2020. Violators can face criminal charges and fines as well as civil penalties of up to $10,000 per incident. Arkansans can report price gougers to the Attorney General’s Office at ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.