Tuesday deadline for small-biz aid
The deadline for a crucial coronavirus lifeline for small businesses struggling over the pandemic is quickly approaching, with billions of dollars still on the table.
Business owners have until Tuesday to apply for funds in the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, a safety net established to give companies devastated by government-ordered shutdowns money to pay staffers and survive.
The fund was designed to help businesses such as restaurants, retailers and salons stay afloat after losing revenue to the job-killing pandemic.
Congress authorized $659 billion for the relief fund, which financial analysts credit for easing the nation’s jobless rate from 14.7% in April to 13.3% in May.
But more than $140 billion in loan money remained unclaimed, according to a Small
Business Administration spokeswoman, who said it will be up to Congress to decide what to do with any leftover funds.
But businesses left in the lurch said the fix was in from the beginning because the program created application obstacles that stopped countless small businesses from seeking or getting the funds.
The program’s shortcomings also made it more difficult for minorityowned businesses to get loans, according to a report from the Center for Responsible Lending, a research group. “It was a flawed structure to begin with,” said John Arensmeyer, CEO of Small Business Majority, an advocacy group. “It favored established businesses. It was set up to give money to people with strong banking relationships.”
Some banks rejected any companies that did not have multiple accounts, Arensmeyer said.