Tues­day dead­line for small-biz aid

New York Daily News - - NEWS - BY LEONARD GREENE

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.

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