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What the Stimulus Package Means to Small Businesses, Families, Individuals, and Our Local Governments

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Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

I started contacting U.S. Senator and Congressman's aides about six weeks ago to find out what the stimulus bill will mean to people and small businesses. I was not finding specific answers to my questions from any sources because I did not really know where to look.

Markwayne Mullin's (R-OK) office came through with some answers. I have received only one response from a Texas official, but they are busy and working on it. The other official's aides in Texas have not responded. I may ammend this article as more answers come in. 

What types of assistance can small business owners apply for?

There are several from the Small Business Administration: Paycheck Protection Program, EIDL, debt relief, and express bridge loans.

Paycheck Protection Program

This loan program provides loan forgiveness for retaining employees by temporarily expanding the traditional SBA 7(a) loan program.

EIDL Loan Advance

This loan advance will provide up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties.

SBA Express Bridge Loans

Enables small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly.

SBA Debt Relief

The SBA is providing a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

More info can be found here: 

https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options

What is the difference between a loan and a grant for small businesses?

Loans you have to pay back and grants you do not.

Can you clarify what business tax cuts means as far as this bill is concerned?

Employers can defer payment of their 6.2% share of Social Security tax on wages paid from March 27 through December 31, 2020.

Half of the deferred amount is due on December 31, 2021, and the other half on December 31, 2022.

Self-employed people can defer 50% of the self-employment tax they owe.
There's a new payroll tax credit for employers hurt by the coronavirus but the business must retain and continue to pay workers to claim this tax break.

The credit of up to $5,000 per paid employee offsets the employer's 6.2% share of Social Security taxes, with the excess refundable.

Eligible employers are those who have to close up shop or reduce hours because of a governmental order, or whose gross receipts in a quarter have declined by more than 50% compared to the same quarter in 2019.

The credit only applies to qualified wages paid from March 13 through December 31, 2020.

What is the difference in the bill between local government loans and aid to state and local governments?

The CARES Act includes $150B to States, Territories, and Tribal governments through the Coronavirus Relief Fund.

This money may be used for expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respected to COVID-19 in the face of revenue declines.

Of the $150B, $8B will be provided to Tribal governments and a minimum of $1.25B will go to each of the 50 States. Local governments can receive funding directly through the States.

Governments are ineligible for the SBA loan programs under the CARES Act.

Many employees have lost their jobs. Unemployment benefit applications have skyrocketed. A reported $260 billion is to go for expanded unemployment benefits.

What does the term expanded mean for unemployment benefits?

The CARES Act created the temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program through December 31, 2020, which helps those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits (self-employed, independent contractors, those with limited work history, and others). It also Provides an additional $600 per week to each recipient of unemployment insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for up to four months.

Individual Assistance

Can you explain this process and who is eligible for these checks?

Through this bill, most Americans will receive a cash rebate to help them get through this difficult time. All U.S. residents with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals or $150,000 married filing jointly, who are not a dependent of another taxpayer and have a work eligible social security number, are eligible for the full $1,200 ($2,400 married filing jointly) rebate. They are also eligible for an additional $500 rebate per child. This applies for those who have no income, as well as those whose income comes entirely from non-taxable means-tested benefit programs, such as SSI benefits.

The rebate amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 that a taxpayer's income exceeds the phase-out threshold ($75,000 individual, $150,000 married). The amount is completely phased-out for single filers with income exceeding $99,000, for head of household filers with one child exceeding $145,000, and joint filers with no children exceeding $198,000.

What is a personal tax cut?

CARES Act allows an individual to make a cash contribution of up to $300 made to certain qualifying charities and deduct the contribution “above-the-line” in computing adjusted gross income.

Who is eligible for a personal tax cut?

If it is the charitable deduction, it would be everyone.

FAQs are available here: https://mullin.house.gov/coronavirus-faq/

You Will Get Your Stimulus Check Even if You Owe Back Taxes to the IRS

https://money.com/true-or-false-you-wont-get-a-stimulus-check-if-you-owe-money-to-the-irs/

Health Spending

Is there anything that the hospitals need that funds from the bill will supply?

$30B went to Medicare FFS providers and they can use it for whatever they want. Otherwise you would have to ask the hospitals what they need but the other $70B hasn’t been allocated yet and there weren’t specific instructions in the bill.

What is the actual amount allotted to hospitals?

$100B, but also there were many other payments that would add up to billions of dollars. This and other bills have funded testing and required free testing. We do not have a shortage of tests in OK.

Education

How are the education funds going to be divided between the states?

First the money is divided into Higher Ed, Elementary/Secondary Ed, and Governor’s Emergency Fund.

$13.95 B: Higher Ed is distributed mostly to institutions directly according to a formula of an institution’s relative share of enrolled full-time equivalent (FTE) students and FTE Pell Grant recipients. Some of it will be reserved and distributed to institutions whose students have been hit hardest by coronavirus and some will be put into already existing federal grant programs for distribution.

$13.2 B: The Elementary/Secondary Ed funding is distributed to states based on each state’s relative share of funds under Title I of ESEA. OK expects to receive about $160 M based on this math.

$2.95 B: The Governor’s emergency funds will be distributed to states based on need, determined by application.

Is instituting infrastructure for online public education expected?

This is not specifically addressed in the bill. Educational decisions have traditionally been left to the states.

It has been reported that this bill will be utilized in phases. Can you tell us about the phases and what they mean?

The CARES Act is being implemented by federal agencies ASAP on a rolling bases.When people refer to the phases, they mean the different stimulus packages that have been signed into law.

Phase I: H.R. 6074, Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020.

Signed into law on March 6, 2020.

Provides $8.3B to increase the availability of tests, supports public and private efforts toward developing a vaccine, facilitates the purchase of essential equipment and supplies, assists sate and local health departments, and provides $20M for small business loans.

Phase II: H.R. 6201, Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

Signed into law March 18, 2020.

Requires businesses with fewer than 500 employees to provide paid sick leave, provides free COVID-19 testing for all Americans, expands unemployment insurance and emergency nutrition waivers, waives cost sharing for Medicare, Medicaid, and VA patients for COVID-19 related issues, and increases access to telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries.

Phase III: S. 3548, Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
Provides a total of $2.2T: highlights include $349B for SBA loan guarantees, relief payments for most Americans, $454B for Treasury to provide loans and loan guarantees to businesses of all sizes, and $100B for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund for providers.

 

 

 

 



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Kendall Davis is well-versed in the English language. She has 20 years experience as a published author and writing for clients. Her published works include historical articles in museums, magazines, newspaper articles, columns, content marketing, advertising copy, blogging, and academic papers. Kendall also makes her way in the literary world as a copyeditor. Writing about history is her first love interest. If you have editing or content needs on your website or for your books, articles, blogs, or columns, please visit her website to see details and more examples of her work, the services she offers, and contact information. http://kdavis1836.wixsite.com/luminiwrites


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