Coronavirus Response Bills – What Do They Mean for Your Business?
On March 6, 2020 Congress passed an $8.3 billion supplemental appropriation, then a Families First Response Act on March 18, and then the CARES bill, which has passed the Senate and now heads to the House for consideration.
CARES contains hundreds of pages of heavy legal jargon, and there is lots to unpack. Thanks to the dogged work of many of our Senate allies on the Appropriations Committee (especially Collins, Reed, Coons, Cantwell and Murkowski) there are lots of programs that will help our members find assistance to make it through the coming months.
CARES is a $2 trillion package with huge injections of small business lending, unemployment insurance, tax relief and tons of other moving parts for other parts of the economy. In the bill are $300 million for fisheries disaster relief (including aquaculture), as well as $9.5 billion for the Secretary of Agriculture to use to help farms that have lost markets due to restaurant closures.
Probably the biggest piece for our members is the expansion of availability for small business loans. Our firms will qualify for loans for payroll, group health, salary and commissions, interest on mortgages, rent, utilities and interest on debt. Collateral and personal guarantee obligations are waived.
Employers can receive loan forgiveness for the first 8 weeks of payroll costs (and certain other expenses) after the origination date of the loan (up to $100K). The program incentivizes the rehiring of workers laid off due to COVID-19. There is also an employer tax credit for eligible employers that would credit up to 50% of wages (up to $10K per employee per quarter) and a provision that allows for immediate write-offs for qualifying property improvements.
The bill contains huge boosts to unemployment insurance, hospitals, big businesses and just about everyone else, and it may take some time to pass and get signed into law so we can start to dissect it properly and provide some real guidance on real issues like where to apply, and what will be needed to qualify.
Hang in there.