Small Business Majority, Small Business Owners Comment on the Need for Immediate and Comprehensive Stimulus Relief

For Immediate Release: 
Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Washington, DC – Today, Small Business Majority CEO John Arensmeyer and several small business owners from the organization's network commented on the HEROES 2.0 Act that will be voted on in the U.S. House of Representatives this evening. 

“For the past several months, America’s small businesses have told Congress that they cannot survive without more help and yet leadership has remained deadlocked,” said John Arensmeyer, Founder and CEO of Small Business Majority. “Our nation’s small business communities are shattering as they try to navigate how to keep their doors open until our economy recovers. For many, this is an impossible task and small businesses are shutting down and shedding jobs for good. 

There are many provisions in the HEROES 2.0 Act that would greatly support small businesses in need, including an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), set-asides for loan funds for the smallest businesses, funding for community-based lenders, and a "lifeline grant program" for small businesses, among other measures. However, the legislation is missing some critical provisions that are needed to bolster small businesses, such as automatic forgiveness for PPP loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) under $150,000, and the legislation doesn't forbid lenders from underwriting these loans based on credit (which has a disproportionate impact on business owners of color) and it fails to reverse the IRS ruling that prohibits payroll and rent tax deductions for expenses incurred with PPP.

But most importantly, this package does not have the bipartisan support needed to ensure it passes both chambers of Congress and makes it to the president's desk for signature, despite the fact that many of the small business measures have strong support from both sides of the aisle.  If Congress can’t agree on a stimulus package or a standalone deal for small businesses immediately, our entrepreneurs and job creators will continue to close for good,” said Arensmeyer

“Through no fault of our own, the pandemic has forced millions of small business owners—with otherwise healthy and thriving businesses—to consider closing our doors forever,” said Laura Lafata, owner of La Diva Cucina in Miami Beach, Florida. “I’ve long prided myself on being a job creator and contributing member of my community. Despite my best efforts to adapt, my business is suffering. To receive assistance to date, I have had to put my home up as collateral and with no end to the pandemic in sight, I need further help to survive. Congress’s number one priority should be getting our economy back on track. We need more stimulus relief now, and any deal reached should extend PPP and provide automatic forgiveness for all loans issued under $150,000.”

“When Congress designed PPP, they assumed that a one size fits all program would work for the range of different business models that make up the small business community," said Glen Miller, owner of Swing Dance America in Barrington, Illinois. They could not have been more wrong. PPP was never going to work for my business. The program assumed my highest expense was payroll and that my 1099 employees were expendable. Because of this flawed logic, I could not borrow enough money through the program to make a PPP loan worthwhile. Now I am at a disadvantage because I took a traditional EIDL loan and have no option for forgiveness. I urge Congress to provide automatic forgiveness for businesses that took modest EIDL loans because taking PPP was not in their best interest or they would have not qualified.”

“For more than six months we have weathered this crisis, and so far Congress has only responded to the needs of some struggling small business owners with a one-time loan to cover limited expenses for eight weeks. In my case, my loan amount was decreased by the bank processing my application. Now I have exhausted my PPP funds, and Congress has not offered any other solutions for businesses in crisis,” said Evalyn Shea, owner of Shea Writing and Training Solutions in Houston, Texas. “One in four business owners expect to go under within the next three months without additional funding. We need access to a second round of forgivable loans now if we are to keep our workers employed and doors open and Congress must take action quickly.”

“A large amount of the contracts that we work on are tied to the fiscal year, and therefore my 2019 revenue on paper looks smaller than it really is. When I received PPP, it was not enough to cover payroll for a two-month period. With business down and no end in sight, I need a second loan now. I call on Congress to pass another stimulus package now that provides quick and accessible help for the small businesses in greatest needs. Otherwise, too many businesses will not make it out of this crisis intact,” said Erica Robertson, owner of Adeptus Solutions, Inc. in Leesburg, Virginia.

About Small Business Majority

Small Business Majority is a national small business organization that empowers America's diverse entrepreneurs to build a thriving and inclusive economy. We engage our network of more than 70,000 small businesses and 1,000 business and community organizations to advocate for public policy solutions and deliver resources to entrepreneurs that promote equitable small business growth. Our deep connections with the small business community along with our scientific research enable us to educate the public about key issues impacting America’s entrepreneurs, with a special focus on advancing the smallest businesses and those facing systemic inequalities. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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