House Bill Proposes Fixes To Susan Collins’ Paycheck Protection Program That’s Left Majority Of Maine Small Businesses Behind

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While Senator Collins Fails to Acknowledge Problems Cited by Maine Small Business Owners, the HEROES Act Introduced by the House of Representatives Offers Fixes to the Flawed PPP 
83% of Maine Small Businesses Have Not Received Assistance from PPP

Portland, MAINE — As much-needed changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) are included in new legislation introduced by the U.S. House of Representatives this week, Mainers are calling on Senator Susan Collins to take action to fix her flawed program that has left the majority of Maine small businesses behind — all while large corporations receive millions from it. 

Proposed changes include targeting the smallest businesses by reserving 25% of remaining PPP funds for businesses with 10 or fewer employees and increasing transparency and accountability by requiring the Small Business Administration (SBA) to report daily and weekly on PPP loans.

Willy Ritch, executive director of 16 Counties Coalition issued the following statement in response: 

“This program has been riddled with problems from the beginning and the way it’s designed is clearly not working for small businesses in Maine. There has been no shortage of Maine business owners who have been speaking out about these problems, but Senator Collins doesn’t seem to want to listen to them. The fixes outlined in HEROES Act turn the PPP into a program that would actually work for the kind of small businesses we have in Maine and she should work to make sure they pass the Senate.”
Many of the changes to the PPP proposed in the HEROES Act echo those sought by Maine Representative Jared Golden, to fix provisions of Senator Collins’ bill that have proven prohibitive for Maine small business owners. 

Approximately 83 percent of Maine small businesses have not received assistance from the PPP. And Maine small business owners who have been able to secure loans are now concerned that poor guidance and restrictions on loan forgiveness included in the fine print of the PPP will saddle their already struggling businesses with additional debt and expenses. 
Proposed Changes to the PPP in the HEROES Act:

  • Targets the smallest businesses by reserving 25% of remaining PPP funds for businesses with 10 or fewer employees.
  • Increases transparency and accountability by requiring SBA to report daily and weekly on PPP loans to provide transparency on who is getting loans, including by ethnicity and gender.
  • Extends the covered period for payroll costs for forgiveness eligibility to 24 weeks (from 8 weeks), and the covered period through December 31, 2020 (from June 30);
  • Eliminates the 75/25 requirement imposed by Treasury/SBA that limits the amount of non-payroll costs to be included in forgiveness amounts;
  • Ensures small businesses are still eligible for loan forgiveness if they can certify that they are unable to rehire workers in the prescribed time frame;
  • Allows non-profits of any size to be eligible for PPP loans (not subject to 500 employee limit);
  • Makes 501(c)(6) organizations (like chambers of commerce) eligible for PPP;
  • Clarifies that loan terms extend through the end of the covered period;
  • Establishes a minimum maturity on PPP loans of 5 years to enable borrowers to amortize loans over a longer period of time, which lowers monthly payments;
  • Clarifies coordination between the Employee Retention Tax Credit and the PPP loans to ensure borrowers can take advantage of both types of assistance

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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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