As More Mainers File For Unemployment, Senator Collins’ Paycheck Protection Program Is Failing To Help Small Businesses That Employ Them

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57 Percent of Working Mainers Are Employed by Small Businesses, But 88 Percent of Maine Small Businesses Haven’t Gotten Assistance from The Paycheck Protection Program

Portland, MAINE — Today, the US Department of Labor announced 3.8 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits in the past week. Nationwide, more than 30 million people, including 108,500 Mainers, have filed unemployment claims in the past six weeks.
Maine small businesses employ nearly 60 percent of working Mainers, and many of these jobs are concentrated in the retail and hospitality industries that have been especially hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. But while Senator Susan Collins promised the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was designed to help these businesses keep Mainers employed and bolster Maine’s economy, restaurant and store owners say that the current restrictions on converting PPP loans to grants leave them “stuck between a rock and a hard place.” 

“Susan Collins’ PPP is failing small businesses, which means it’s also failing the Mainers who depend on them for their livelihoods,” said Willy Ritch, executive director of 16 Counties Coalition. “We’ve seen example after example of big corporations getting millions from the PPP, but what we hear from Maine small business owners is that they are losing out. We need Susan Collins to work for the people of Maine, not corporate interests.” 
Maine small business owners from across the state have expressed frustration both with the difficult process of applying for loans, and requirements for converting the loans to grants which keep the PPP from delivering relief for the Mainers it was supposed to help. Instead, the program is benefitting special interests and large corporations who are taking advantage of loopholes in the legislation.

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The 16 Counties Coalition is a year-long grassroots advocacy campaign aimed at amplifying the voices of families and working Mainers and encouraging Senator Susan Collins to vote in favor of the people she was elected to represent and defend. The campaign will mobilize members through small- and large-scale events, through digital action, and paid television, radio, and digital ads.

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