Senate bill provides emergency relief for small businesses but policy makers must find long-term solutions

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By Frank Knapp, Jr. co-chair of Businesses for Responsible Tax

Reform and President & CEO of the South Carolina Small Business

Chamber of Commerce

The Senate’s passage today of a $2 trillion coronavirus relief fund, including $377 billion for small businesses and their employees, is a first step in alleviating the economic devastation inflicted by the COVID-129 pandemic on small businesses and their employees.

The bill’s “Paycheck Protection Program” will go a long way in helping small businesses in the short-term by providing federally-guaranteed loans that can be forgiven to help them cover payroll, rent, utilities and mortgage interest. As welcome as this is, though, the ultimate need will be far greater. Our nation’s Main Street entrepreneurs and their employees will need economic help for the long-term to recover from the precipitous decline in consumer demand and shut-down orders resulting from efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19.

A crucial next step will be ensuring the Small Business Administration and the lenders it works with to get loans out are prepared to put the money into the hands of small business owners immediately We anticipate small businesses will rush to apply for these loans. The government must make sure lenders are ready and able to deploy the cash.

The need cannot be overstated. A new BRTR survey with more than 800 small business respondents finds the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has created an existential crisis for America’s small businesses: 88% have lost revenue, with 70% reporting they have lost 50% or more of their revenue.

With emergency small business assistance in place, and a commitment to helping them over the long-term, small businesses can focus on what they do best – innovating and creating jobs to lead our nation out of economic turmoil.