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LEGISLATIVE SOLUTION: Small businesses across NYS look for help, hope as COVID-19 outbreak worsens

Small businesses are looking for help.

Following Governor Andrew Cuomo’s enforced restrictions on restaurants and bars – state and federal leaders announced potential relief.

First, the Small Business Administration issued revised criteria for states or territories seeking an economic injury declaration related to the Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19.

Here’s how this shakes out:

– Faster and easier qualification process for states seeking SBA Disaster Assistance; and

– Expanded, statewide access to SBA Disaster Assistance Loans for small businesses.

Under the revised criteria issued Tuesday, disaster assistance loans will be available statewide following an economic injury declaration. This will apply to current and future disaster assistance declarations related to Coronavirus.

“We’re very encouraged that banks and financial institutions are responding to the President’s efforts to mobilize an unprecedented public-private response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. As a result, most small businesses that need credit during these uncertain times will be able to obtain it. However, our goal is to ensure that credit is available to any and all small businesses that need credit but are unable to access it on reasonable terms through traditional lending channels,” said Administrator Carranza. “To that end, the SBA is relaxing the criteria through which states or territories may formally request an economic injury declaration, effective immediately. Furthermore, once an economic injury declaration has been made in a state or territory, the new rules allow the affected small businesses within the state or territory to apply for a disaster assistance loan.”

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for each affected small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

Meanwhile, Senator Pam Helming and Assemblyman Colin J. Schmitt called for the establishment of a $890 million Small Business Emergency Assistance Fund for the State of New York.

The $890 million would come from state settlement funds that are currently earmarked for use during economic uncertainty. The monies would be distributed by the state through grants, loans and emergency assistance relief to New York State small businesses impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

“This is a necessary step we must take as a state to protect local job-creating small businesses. As the Ranking Member of the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business, I see the obstacles our small businesses face on a daily basis and the red tape they must continuously push through. The economic environment of our area relies upon the success of small business, agriculture and tourism. With new challenges related to the coronavirus, I will be leading the efforts to bring much needed assistance to these small businesses as we work to complete the state budget. Thank you to Assemblyman Schmitt for his leadership on this and I look forward to working together proactively to confront this crisis,” Senator Helming said.

“We have a responsibility to provide immediate assistance to New York’s small businesses who are suffering immensely from the coronavirus outbreak. Many are just days away from permanent closure without significant assistance from New York State. We have $890 million in settlement funds earmarked for use during economic uncertainty and now is the time to put those funds to use. This small business emergency assistance fund will save countless small businesses, preserve jobs and keep our main streets alive,” Assemblyman Schmitt said.

“With the outbreak of COVID-19, we are not just in a health crisis, we are also on the brink of a financial crisis,” said Assemblyman Brian Manktelow. “With most entertainment businesses, such as movie theaters, restaurants and bars, forced to close their doors and others required to operate with half their normal occupancy limit, employees and business owners will soon feel the effects financially across the state. While essential measures are to contain the spread of the virus, we must think ahead as to how we can help New Yorkers continue to survive in such difficult times. For this reason, we are proposing the Small Business Emergency Recovery Act of 2020 in an effort to provide the necessary help to both business owners and employees to tide them over until this crisis is over. Seeing as small businesses make up 99 percent of businesses in New York which also employee almost half of New York’s workforce, this is something I plan to continually push hard over these next few days to see that it is taken care of.”

The legislation would accomplish the following if enacted:

– Create a 0% interest loan program dedicated to helping small businesses meet their
payroll commitments;

– Repurpose available tax credits to help the needs of the state’s existing small

– Use all economic development discretionary funding for existing small businesses
within New York State;

– Move tax deadlines for remittance, business tax, and personal income tax ahead
180 days; and

– Suspend all regulatory fees on small businesses for 180 days.