COVID-19 Federal Resources

COVID-19 Federal Resources

12-21-20:

Pandemic Relief Bill of $900 Million Additional Information:  The US Senate and House voted last night on the relief bill and it has been sent to the President.  Here’s some additional information on what’s in it including specifics for our area. 

Click here for The Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Non-Profits and Venues Act. 
Click here for COVID-Related Tax Relief Act of 2020.

Small Business Assistance: 
PPP loans: The agreement includes some $284 billion for Paycheck Protection Program Second Draw Loans and the inclusion of certain 501(c)(6) nonprofits for eligibility.  

Improvements to the PPP program:

  • Expands PPP allowable and forgivable expenses to include supplier costs on existing contracts and purchase orders, including the cost for perishable goods at any time, costs relating to worker protective equipment and adaptive costs, and technology operations expenditures
  • Provides needed assurances to PPP lenders that no enforcement action could be taken against a lender who originated the loan in good faith, complied with all regulations, and relied in good faith on a borrower’s certification and documentation.
  • Simplifies the forgiveness application process for smaller loans up to $150,000 while increasing SBA’s ability to audit and review forgiven loans.
  • Expands PPP eligibility to local newspapers, T.V., and radio stations previously made ineligible by their affiliation with other stations.
  • Eliminates the requirement that EIDL advances be subtracted from PPP forgiveness.

Child Care Centers: Includes $10 billion for child care centers to help providers safely reopen.

Funding for grants to shuttered venues: Establishes a $15 billion grant program to support shuttered live venues, theaters, and museums, that have experienced significant revenue losses

Provides emergency enhancements to other SBA lending programs.
 
Vaccines: The agreement includes some $68 billion to purchase and distribute COVID-19 vaccines and help states conduct testing.

Broadband Access: The measure contains $7 billion to increase access to broadband Internet, including a new Emergency Broadband Benefit to help millions of students' families and unemployed workers afford the broadband they need during the pandemic.

Transportation Aid: Provides $45 billion in transportation-related assistance, including:

  • $16 billion for airlines to pay the salaries of workers and contractors.
  • $14 billion for mass transit agencies.
  • $10 billion for highways.

 Individual Benefits:

  • $600 direct payment checks for every adult and child earning up to $75,000. Individuals earning between $75,000 and $99,000 would get smaller checks, and the benefit cuts out entirely for individuals earning over $99,000.
  • Unemployment benefits: Lawmakers agreed to extend enhanced unemployment benefits for jobless workers, who will receive up to $300 per week through mid-March. Self-employed people and gig workers will also receive extended assistance.
  • Rental assistance: The measure includes $25 billion to help families pay their rent, and it extends the eviction moratorium now in effect until Jan. 31.
  • SNAP assistance: additional $13 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Education: The measure contains $82 billion in funding for schools and universities to assist with reopening, including, according to one summary, $2.75 billion for private K-12 education.

Tax-Deductible Meals: Includes a provision making the cost of meals a deductible business expense.

Benefits to Kentucky:  In the passing of the Fiscal Year 2021 government-funding bills, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell outlined the benefits to Kentucky in an email released late last night.  To read the full release, click here

Some highlights specific to our area include:

Paducah DOE Funding: 
$316 million – a $2 million increase over last year’s funding level (that included a $40 million increase) to support workers performing the necessary environmental cleanup operations at the Paducah Department of Energy site (Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant).  Among other initiatives, funding will also support operations and critical facility upgrades at Paducah DUF-6 conversion facility, which Senator McConnell established. 
 
Asian Carp: 
$25 million to fight the war on Asian Carp in addition to the $25 million secured last year.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will use the funding to help remove Asian Carp, an invasive species, from waterways like Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. 
 
Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act:  
Permanently authorizes tax cuts in the Act which were scheduled to expire at the end of the year. It includes a number of priorities for Kentucky’s craft beverage industry, including reduction in federal excise taxes and regulatory relief for Kentucky’s distilleries, breweries and wineries.
 
Kentucky Lock: 
$2.6 billion in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ major construction account that will support the continued construction of the Kentucky Lock project for Kentucky’s more than 20,000 maritime workers.
 
Delta Regional Authority: 
$30 million for the DRA that supports economic and infrastructure development in the Mississippi Delta region, including a number of counties in Western Kentucky.
 
Barkley Regional Airport EAS: 
$165 million for the Essential Air Service Program, which benefits the Barkley Regional Airport in Paducah and the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport.

The U.S. Chamber has created a new Guide to Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Loans to provide you and your members with the latest information and answers to FAQs about the changes that have been made to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) Program as part of the end-of-year pandemic relief package Congress has passed.

Click here to view the U.S. Chamber's new Guide to Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Loans which we will continue to update as more information becomes available. We encourage you to share this with your members and networks as you see fit.


Guides and Resources from the U.S. Chamber

The U.S. Chamber continues to create, update, and evolve its various guides and resources to continue bringing you and your members the information you need during this difficult time. We encourage you to continue utilizing and sharing the following items as you see fit.

U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Resources on COVID-19-Related Tax Credits for Required Paid Leave Provided by Small and Midsize Businesses: The IRS has made available a host of resources to provide guidance and answers to frequently asked questions pertaining to the COVID-19 related tax credits required for paid leave policies provided by small and midsize businesses. The resources and the FAQ document can be found on their webpage here.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) FAQ's from the U.S. Department of Treasury: Click here for the latest FAQ document. If you have questions, please contact Sharron Johnson, KY SBA Lender Relations Specialist, for West Kentucky or call 502-276-7655. The SBA staff is working diligently to research and answer all questions and phone calls.

Poster for Businesses: The Department of Labor is requiring this poster to be on display in your business as of 4-1-2020. Here is a downloadable link of the poster.

Guidance on Families First Coronavirus Response Act – The U.S. Department of Labor has issued guidance providing information to employees and employers about how each will be able to take advantage of the protections and relief offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it takes effect on April 1, 2020. This will help to address critical questions, such as how an employer must count the number of their employees to determine coverage; how small businesses can obtain an exemption; how to count hours for part-time employees; and how to calculate the wages employees are entitled to under this law.

Find more information below or click here.  
Fact Sheet for Employees
Fact Sheet for Employers
Questions and Answers
 
Guidance on Coronavirus-Related Paid Leave - The U.S. Department of the Treasury, IRS and the U.S. Department of Labor announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. This relief to American businesses with fewer than 500 employees is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020. The legislation will enable employers to keep their workers on their payrolls, while at the same time ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus.

For more information about these credits and other relief, visit Coronavirus Tax Relief on IRS.gov. Information regarding the process to receive an advance payment of the credit will be posted next week.

 

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