Area chambers of commerce and U.S. Rep. Colin Allred got together today on a social media platform to discuss elements of a $2.2 trillion stimulus program passed by Congress to combat the economic fallout of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Zoom broadcast was mediated by Mike Agnew, president of Wylie Chamber of Commerce, with more than 30 participants including representatives of the Sachse and Rowlett chambers of commerce.
Allred was joined by Susheel Kumar of the Small Business Administration to answer questions.
“I want to hear how these programs are working in North Texas,” Allred said.
The programs include the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Domestic Loans and Small Business Relief.
The PPP provides loans to businesses to pay employees for eight weeks to retain workers instead of an employer laying off workers because of a dramatic drop in business due to the virus. Employees who are paid as 1099 contractors must file their own PPP claims.
Allred explained that PPP loans are available up to maximum of $10 million at a maximum of four percent interest. The loans are forgivable if a workforce is retained or reinstated.
A purpose in keeping employees on the payroll, the congressman said, is that the transition to restarting a business would be smoother with experienced employees in place.
One of the few restrictions on PPP is that individual salaries are payable to a maximum of $100,000.
The EIDL program provides a $10,000 cash advance to small businesses that experience a temporary loss of revenue because of COVID-19. The advance does not have to be repaid.
EIDL is administered through the SBA to businesses with fewer than 500 employees, including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and the self-employed.
The Small Business Relief Program provides funding to pay principal, interest and fees for up to six months on several types of loans.
Kumar reported that a business could receive both EIDL and PPP funding under the programs.
Applications and detailed qualifications for the relief packages are available at home.treasury.gov.
“It’s a very user friendly site,” Kumar said.
Allred said that he has heard that some small businesses have had difficulty accessing loans through the various programs and stated that he did not want to see any participating banks prioritizing loans. He added that banks have been ordered to process loans as quickly as possible.
The SBA site also provides a list of participating banks by zip code.
“We’re all going to have to work together to work through the kinks in these programs,” the congressman said.
Allred and Kumar asked for feedback on how well the relief programs are working to take by to congress.
“We are considering a fourth step and a fifth step,” Allred said.
By Joe Reavis • [email protected]