Opinion: Small Businesses Need PPP Flexibility Act to Become Law

Main Street Alliance

On the passage of the PPP Flexibility Act in the Senate last night, Executive Director of the Main Street Alliance Amanda Ballantyne has this to say:

“The Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act is a first step in addressing the design flaws of the PPP and must immediately go to the President’s desk to become law, however, additional support is necessary to address the ongoing crisis millions of small business owners are still facing.

As protests continue across the nation, we cannot ignore that the PPP is another government program that has continued to expand racial wealth inequality with new data showing that Latinx and Black small businesses have closed at 1.5 times and double the rate respectively, compared to overall small businesses. The PPP fixes are necessary, but still fail to address the continued crisis of access to funding for these small businesses.

Expanding the time horizon, and reducing the fixed percentage on payroll for loan forgiveness are critical improvements.

The PPP Flexibility Act extends the timeline — but not the funding for small businesses. Most small businesses have already spent their eight weeks of PPP funding — but it will be months or more before businesses are able to safely reopen and consumer confidence is back to create demand and profitable businesses.

We must make these short-term changes to PPP to improve functionality. But we need a comprehensive longer term solution that recognizes the financial crisis Covid-19 has created for small business and our entire economy.

Payroll subsidy programs like the Senate’s Paycheck Security Act, also introduced last week by Senators Sanders, Warner, Blumenthal and Jones, reflect the on-going nature of this crisis, is a policy idea that has bipartisan support and would be part of larger set of policies that works in tandem with the PPP to provide the kind of support we need for the longer term crisis.

We must now look beyond the PPP program to what will support a small business recovery and a more pandemic resilient economy.

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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