Big Strides to Fix PPP, More Support Needed for Long Term

by Amanda Ballantyne.

On the release of the Congressional House Democrat’s Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Stimulus Act (HEROES Act) today, small business will feel some level of relief.

We applaud Congressional House Democrats for their leadership as the COVID-19 crisis continues to wreak havoc on our public health and economy. The HEROES Act takes strides to fix problems in previous federal response legislation. While this bill expands critical payroll support through the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), this program — as with much of the small business relief we’ve seen — does not go far enough.

Employee Retention Tax Credit:

The current ERTC program provides $15,000 per employee per quarter, covering 80 percent of qualified wages. In contrast, the Paycheck Guarantee Act would provide up to $22,500 per employee per quarter, covering 100 percent of qualified wages. This is a more significant level of support that could keep businesses from permanently shuttering and would put more money in employees’ pockets. We urge House leadership to increase the level of support in the final package.

Paycheck Protection Program:

The HEROES Act does address key problems with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) from timing to flexibility and accessibility, including set-asides for CDFIs and small businesses with less than 10 employees. These are important and necessary updates. While issues with the PPP must absolutely be resolved, this program is still ultimately a short-term band-aid for our larger economic crisis. We need a system that can be adapted to the long term cycles of this pandemic until we have a vaccine. Expanded access to business funding and grants for retro-fitting and upgrading to adapt to a more pandemic resilient economy are also needed.

Building Pandemic Resilience:

Republicans are already looking for the back door of corporate immunity to put the burden of public health on workforces and businesses, rather than truly addressing the pandemic. Investments from the HEROES Act must strengthen our health response at the federal and local level. The funding designated for testing and health care are key to containing the spread of the virus and supporting our communities so businesses can survive and ultimately open only when it safe to do so.

Amanda Ballantyne is Executive Director of the Main Street Alliance.

Main Street Alliance is a national network of small business coalitions working to build a new voice for small businesses on important public policy issues. Alliance small business owners share a vision of public policies that work for business owners, our employees, and the communities we serve.

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