Maine Small Business Owners Need Susan Collins To Put Maine’s Economy First And Push For Fixes To Her Failed Paycheck Protection Plan That Has Left Them Behind

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Senator Susan Collins Must Put Small Businesses that Employ the Majority of Mainers Before Interests of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Big Corporations, and Push for Passage of Fixes to PPP Like Those Included in the HEROES Act Recently Passed by the House

Portland, MAINE — The US House of Representatives recently passed the HEROES Act, which included a number of measures to fix problems with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) authored by Maine Senator Susan Collins. Now, Maine small business owners are looking to Senator Susan Collins to break with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and her corporate special interests, and take action to push for legislation that will make needed changes to the PPP in the Senate. 

“Maine small business owners are telling us they need these changes to the PPP in order to survive. Susan Collins says she wants to put Maine small business owners first, but she has a funny way of showing it. She’s ignoring Maine small business owners when they try to point out what’s wrong with the PPP, and has refused to put their interests ahead of Mitch McConnell’s and her wealthy donors,” said Willy Ritch, executive director of 16 Counties Coalition. “We need Collins to put Maine’s economy ahead of Mitch McConnell and special interests.” 

Changes to the PPP like those made in the HEROES Act 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.

Maine small business owners are frustrated that Susan Collins has refused to engage with their concerns about key provisions of the PPP. These include poor guidance and restrictions on loan forgiveness included in the fine print of the program, and many worry these issues could force them to lay off workers or jeopardize their access to unemployment, and will saddle their already struggling businesses with additional debt and expenses. 

And although the program was supposedly aimed at small businesses with less than 500 employees, thanks to an exception Collins put in the law, a big company with multiple locations could count each location separately. For example, AutoNation is a nationwide chain of car dealerships with over 26,000 employees that qualified for $77 million in PPP loans. 
Changes to the PPP passed 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; and
  • 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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