The Senate and White House agreed overnight on a massive stimulus bill—two trillion dollars, including $367 billion for small business—but it appears to lack provisions that could save your small business.
(Remember: I am doing a Facebook Live www.facebook.com/RhondaAbramsSmallBusiness at 1pm EDT/10am PDT every M–F to keep you updated.)
Tuesday night, Senate Republicans and Democrats finally agreed on a massive stimulus bill—by far the largest financial bailout in American history, totaling two trillion dollars in aid. The financial aid includes a number of provisions that will help you and your small business—and if you are self-employed, financial assistance for you as well.
However, as of this writing, it appears that this bill does not provide GRANTS for small business, which were included in a bill being considered by the House of Representatives (the specifics of the Senate bill were still very hard to come by as of this writing—I’ll be updating as I am able to get information from Senate sources).
Keep in mind, this will not be the last stimulus bill passed, and if loans aren’t the lifeline for your small business, you need to raise your voice and keep contacting your Representative and Senator right away, both at their office and through their social media channels. Find their contact information at www.usa.gov/elected-officials.
Specifically, some of the provisions of the Senate bill likely affecting you:
- $367 billion in aid for small businesses—apparently mostly, if not all, in the form of loans.
- $600 per week in self-employment unemployment insurance—for the first time, the self-employed and gig workers will qualify and $600 additional self-employment insurance for those who already qualify.
- $1200 per adult and $500 per child for every American, with phase out of this grant for those earning more than $75,000 individually/$150,000 filing jointly.
- Paid sick leave and family leave. Small businesses will be required to provide, and will be reimbursed by the government, 2 weeks paid sick leave (at full salary—up to $511 per day) and up to 12 weeks paid family leave (at two-thirds salary—up to $200 per day) for both full time and part-time workers.
Note: This legislation is not yet law. While the White House has indicated the President will sign, the bill still needs approval by the House of Representatives, which is currently out of session. To pass the bill quickly, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wants to pass this by “unanimous consent”—which would not require the legislators to return to Washington. But even one member of the House could object—meaning it would slow down passage until later this week.
But there are flaws in this law that still mean hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of small businesses will die.
“We are facing an extinction-level crisis for small businesses in this country,” warned Amanda Ballantyne, National Director of Main Street Alliance. “If Congress doesn’t act immediately to provide operating grants for impacted small business owners, millions of small businesses will be left with no choice but to close their shops and lay off their employees.”
Here’s what’s needed that I don’t believe is currently in the Senate bill:
- Grants for small businesses and fast. The House of Representatives bill included $100 billion in grants, not just loans. That infusion of cash support would enable small businesses to survive the next few months and keep millions employed.
- Payroll subsidies to small businesses to keep employees on payroll right now. That will keep workers off unemployment, enable small businesses to get up and running quickly as the economy recovers as they’ll still have their workers, and help those small businesses that could ‘pivot’ to do so fast.
- Moratorium on commercial evictions, so that they won’t lose their storefront, office, or warehouse while experiencing cash flow problems.
- Relief on commercial loan and business credit card payments and interest.
- Delayed tax payments and no quarterly payments for 2020 for businesses with fewer than 100 employees. The federal government can help small businesses with cash flow by reducing the need for tax payments for the rest of the year.
- Delayed payment of utilities and no shut off of utilities of small businesses. To keep the lights on—literally.
- Reimbursement for paid sick/family leave to come sooner than quarterly. This is something that needs to be addressed FAST. Currently, it appears there is going to be a huge lag between the pay small businesses are mandated to pay and government reimbursement. Small businesses are just not equipped to handle this.
Loans clearly are not enough with a completely unknown economic future. “Jobs and businesses will not bounce back quickly,” predicted Main Street Alliance’s Ballantyne. “Business owners will not take out loans to cover payroll in an economic climate like this, it simply will not happen.”
There is another danger: that the virus itself will not be contained. States hit hard have rightly complained at the lack of federal support—insufficient help in getting ventilators, supplies, and not requiring factories that can make those to do so. And over the objections of the scientific and medical community, politicians are suggesting easing social distancing when experts are cautioning that even stricter measures are necessary. That means that both the virus and the fear will remain longer. That means the recovery will be much, much slower. We could head into an economic depression, rather than a recession.
“I keep hearing politicians talk about how there’s sort of two problems—a public health problem and the economic problem,” said Aaron Seyedian, owner of Well Paid Maids in the DC area, whose business with 15 employees shut down March 13. “I ask folks in Congress to remember that the public health problem needs to be solved before we can even think about getting back to work.”
FREE SMALL BUSINESS RESOURCES
I’ll start adding these to my daily updates…but for right now, I’ll start with the one I’m now completely dependent on:
Zoom. Online video conferencing, chat. If you’re not already using this, you’ll want to. It’s become the go-to way to stay in touch with employees, customers, friends, family. I’m doing daily Zoom meetings and frequent Zoom cocktail parties! Zoom is free, up to 40 minutes—a limit they appear to be waiving now.
Please join me for my Facebook Live today at 1pm EDT/10am PDT, or watch the video later at www.facebook.com/RhondaAbramsSmallBusiness.
OK—right now, email, text, socialize the message you want #grantsnotloans. Please!
Wishing you well—from Rhonda and the PlanningShop team.
Copyright Rhonda Abrams, 2020