We’re inching closer to the elections and the hope that once it is all over, things will begin to move in Washington DC. Federal aid, in some form is truly needed immediately as we move towards the end of the year on several fronts. We continue to advocate for business relief and liability protections. Take a look below at some further updates and don’t miss the PPP Forgiveness attachments to this email.
*Daily Coronavirus update brought to you by Silver Cross Hospital
Latest on Relief Discussions
Speaker Nancy Pelosi maintained that she will not settle for the Trump administration’s latest coronavirus relief offer as the president urged lawmakers to “go big” once again in an effort to strike an elusive agreement before Election Day.
Pelosi batted down calls from some members of the House Democratic Caucus who are clamoring for her to take the White House’s recent $1.8 trillion offer, citing the “leverage” she holds at the moment as Republicans inch closer to her $2.2 trillion price tag.
The vast majority of those calling for Pelosi to make a deal are on the moderate wing of the party. However, some rumblings have emerged from progressives. “Dems can’t wait for the perfect deal,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), a prominent member of the House Progressive Caucus, tweeted on Tuesday. “We have a moral obligation to get folks relief, now.”
On Tuesday, McConnell announced plans for the Senate to take up a $500 billion relief bill next week that will include additional aid for small businesses hit hard by the fallout from the pandemic.
“When the full Senate returns on October 19th, our first order of business will be voting again on targeted relief for American workers, including new funding for the [Paycheck Protection Program],” McConnell said in a statement. The Senate is out for the remainder of the week.
The GOP leader explained during a stop in Kentucky on Tuesday that the measure he has in mind would direct funding toward schools, hospitals, and protections from coronavirus-related lawsuits.
PPP Forgiveness Application Simplified for Less than $50K
We announced this yesterday, but here is a little more information and there are two PDF’s attached to this email. One is the simplified application and the other is the instructions.
As long as you have abided by the rules and requirements provided by the SBA, it’s time to fill out and submit a loan forgiveness application. Businesses will need to submit an application to the financial institution from which they received their PPP loan. (Small businesses with employees can use this standard PPP forgiveness application as a guide for what information they need to provide, while sole proprietors, independent contractors and self-employed people who have no employees can use this EZ version of the application as a guide.)
The application asks businesses to submit details such as payroll and nonpayroll costs, adjustments for wage reductions and potential forgiveness amounts. Additionally, you’ll use the application to certify that the loan funds were used as intended, that you verified payments to employees and generally that the forms and information submitted to the SBA are true.
The loan forgiveness application also includes measures to “reduce compliance burdens and simplify the process for borrowers,” including:
- The ability for borrowers to calculate payroll costs using an “alternative payroll covered period” that better aligns with a borrower’s normal payroll cycles.
- The flexibility to include some payroll and nonpayroll expenses paid or incurred during the 24-week period after receiving their PPP loan (meaning employers would not be limited only to costs in the original two-month timeline).
- Instructions on how to easily calculate loan forgiveness.
- An exemption to help with loan forgiveness based on borrowers rehiring workers by June 30.
- An exemption from loan forgiveness reduction for any borrowers who made a “good-faith, written offer to rehire workers” that was later declined.
The deadline for submitting a forgiveness application is 10 months after the end of the “Covered Period” of the loan, which is either 8 weeks or 24 weeks. As such, after the period where you use the loan funds ends, you should submit a timely application with your lender.
Once the loan forgiveness application has been submitted, then businesses will wait to find out if it has been accepted. Notably, as long a business submits a loan forgiveness application within 10 months of their loan being used, they are not required to make any payments on the loan. If the loan is then fully forgiven, then the business does not need to make any payments at all. If the loan is only partially forgiven or not forgiven at all, the loan must be paid off in full before its maturity date.
After the loan has been forgiven, businesses should be prepared for the forgiven loan to impact their 2020 business taxes. While a forgiven PPP loan is tax-exempt, using the loan can also reduce how much you can write off on your business taxes. This means that some of your everyday expenses like payroll, rent and utilities that would normally be deductible from taxable income would not be deducted. Without this deduction, your business may in fact owe more taxes at the end of the year than normal.
Illinois Eyes Second Federal Loan
Illinois, the only U.S. state to borrow from the Federal Reserve, will likely have to tap the central bank again to help close its $4.1 billion deficit if federal aid doesn’t come through and voters reject a ballot measure to raise taxes on the rich, according to Governor Pritzker.
The cash-strapped state sold $1.2 billion in short-term debt in June to the Fed to help close its fiscal 2020 budget gap. While Pritzker is optimistic that stimulus will arrive at some point and voters next month will approve his signature agenda item to end Illinois’s flat income tax, he’s prepared to use the Fed’s Municipal Liquidity Facility, a lifeline for state and local governments, for a second time.
Illinois isn’t alone in its woes. States are facing about a $200 billion revenue shortfall from fiscal 2020 through 2022, according to Moody’s Analytics, but Illinois has little cushion. The state has more than $8 billion of unpaid bills, about $137 billion of unfunded pension liabilities, and its rainy-day fund has $858,873. Its borrowing penalty is the highest among states tracked by Bloomberg, with its credit rating only one step above junk.
Advocates Plead for Housing Aid as Eviction Cliff Looms
A potentially dire housing crisis could erupt if the Trump administration and Congress fail to reach a deal on further coronavirus relief that includes eviction protections and substantial rent assistance, experts warn.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a sweeping eviction ban last month in an unprecedented flex of its emergency authorities, but the moratorium stands on shaky legal ground — and only runs through the end of the year.
Uneven interpretations of the CDC’s ban among judges across the U.S. have hobbled its effectiveness, forcing thousands of families out of their rental homes already. Millions more could face the same fate when the ban expires on Jan. 1.
Evictions not only make it harder for struggling families to get back on their feet, experts say, but also increase COVID-19 transmission by forcing ousted tenants into shelters or doubling up with other families in tighter living environments.
Housing advocates and analysts said the CDC’s ban on landlords evicting tenants who can no longer pay rent due to the pandemic was a sorely needed lifeline for millions of families.
Housing advocates hailed the Trump administration for its novel and ambitious bid to prevent a flood of evictions amid rising coronavirus cases. One month later, they say the ban has largely been effective when renters facing eviction are aware of their protections.
Even so, advocates say they’ve struggled to reach the overwhelming number of renters facing eviction in time to prevent landlords from proceeding with efforts to oust them.
“The challenge is that in order to be protected, renters have to take an affirmative step to be covered,” said Sarah Saadian, vice president of public policy for the National Low-Income Housing Coalition.
In order to qualify for the eviction protection, a tenant must declare that their 2020 income will fall below the threshold set out in the order; that they’ve sought all potential sources of federal housing aid; and that they cannot afford to pay the rent due to a pandemic-related job loss or expense despite their best efforts to do so.
“Many renters just don’t know that moratorium is in place and what steps they need to take, and that has allowed — especially institutional and corporate landlords — to move forward with evictions,” Saadian said.
The lack of clear federal guidance and disparate applications of the order by judges have also created holes in the CDC’s safety net. Some judges have applied the CDC’s order to dismiss eviction filings entirely until next year, while others have only delayed the effective date of the eviction until then or even challenged the legality of the ban entirely.
Households that manage to avoid eviction and infection still face considerable challenges at the end of the CDC ban without federal support. The order requires households protected from eviction to pay rent and fees due to landlords as soon as Jan. 1, a daunting challenge for those unable to afford rent amid soaring unemployment and rapidly depleting relief funds.
Roughly 32 percent of U.S. households believe they will face eviction or foreclosure within the next 60 days, and another 6.8 percent said they do not expect to pay their next monthly rent or mortgage payment on time, according to a Census Bureau survey released.
Employment and Tax Update
The number of U.S. women who fell out of the labor force or left their jobs has spiked dramatically, likely tied to home life with children who are learning through virtual instruction during the pandemic rather than learning in classrooms during an upended school year. The trend highlights how domestic responsibilities affect working women more than men. Economists predict the impact may widen the workplace gender gap in the United States for many years.
Thursday is the IRS deadline for people who requested extensions to file their 2019 tax returns. This year’s tax-filing season has been uniquely challenging, with the IRS extending the non-extension filing deadline and facing a backlog of refunds because it had to temporarily close many of its worksites.
Social Security beneficiaries in 2021 will receive a 1.3 percent cost-of-living hike. The average retiree will see a $20 monthly increase in benefits.
Some Professional Advice
Radio silence is not a confidence booster for creditors: Be proactive in speaking with lenders and creditors about steps you’re taking at your business to pivot during the pandemic and find new ways to generate revenue. Keep them in the loop about how your business is doing. — Lenore Horton, Partner at FisherBroyles, LLP
Embrace clear leadership and planning: As a founder it’s important to check in with your employees. Even if your business model is holding up during the pandemic, you’ll have trouble executing growth at your business if your people aren’t able to work effectively. — Charlie O’Donnell, Principal at Brooklyn Bridge Ventures
Take time to communicate: Create multiple points of communication with your team and consider meeting once a day, even if just for a few minutes (either in-person or remotely). Doing so increases the flow of communication and decreases emails and meetings. Also consider using tools like SurveyMonkey to collect feedback from your team. — Melissa Jezoir, CEO & President of Eagle Hill Consulting
Next Thursday, the 22nd of October, the Chamber will host a Candidates forum with 12 invited. The following offices have been invited – US Congress District 11, Illinois Senate Dist. 43, Illinois Senate Dist. 49, Illinois House Dist. 37, Illinois House Dist. 97, and Will County Executive. More information to follow, but you can mark down 3:00 PM on this date.
Finally, please join the Joliet Chamber, Megan Millen – City Center Partnership Board Chair, and Rod Tonelli – City Center Partnership Economic Development Chair, for a HYBRID luncheon on Thursday, October 29 beginning at 11:30 AM to discuss:
- City Center Partnership Overview
- Downtown Development Project Updates
- Review of Downtown Grants and Impacts
- Preview of some of the exciting things coming to Downtown
Guests will have the opportunity to attend in-person (limited to 50 guests) or virtually via GoToMeeting.com. You can register here: http://jolietchamber.chambermaster.com/events/details/2020-member-luncheon-october-29th-downtown-joliet-the-renaissance-continues-5965
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Staff and Board of Directors
Vice President – Government Affairs
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry