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President signs federal stimulus package; includes loans for small businesses

President Donald J. Trump signed the $2 trillion stimulus package today in response to the economic effect of COVID-19. In addition to provisions that checks will be sent to most American taxpayers, the package has a small-business loan-to-grant program. An eligible business may apply for a federal loan of up to $10 million to cover payroll and other fixed costs. Part, or all, of the loan may be forgiven if the business maintains its current employment. The business would still need to pay any interest on the loan. Any business with fewer than 500 employees qualifies as a small business for federal programs, including the stimulus loan-to-grant program, and existing programs from the Small Business Association. The program will be administered and overseen by the SBA. Small businesses also will be able to delay 50% of payroll taxes to increase their current cash flow. PIA will be posting more details about this program in the coming days.

The stimulus also contains an expansion on unemployment benefits. The package creates a 39-week unemployment, $600 per week program for unemployed and underemployed workers, including self-employed workers. This expansion is designed to supplement the benefits already provided by states—many of which are overwhelmed by those individuals who are filing for state unemployment benefits following state government response to COVID-19. Furloughed employees and gig economy workers also will be eligible for unemployment benefits. 

Additionally, the stimulus package includes $500 billion in loans and grants, which will be available to major industries hit by the closures, including airlines. A congressional oversight committee, and an inspector general, will oversee these loans, and publicly disclose the recipients of these funds. Funds also have been allocated by the legislation to assist the health care industry, agriculture bailouts and municipalities; and most taxpayers will receive a one-time payment from the government based on their most recent tax filings.

PIA will continue to follow and distribute guidance on the federal assistance available, especially for small businesses and their employees.