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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