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Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce hosts presentation on stimulus package

Published: Jan. 19, 2021 at 4:02 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce held its 2nd Weekly Business Presentation of 2021 virtually on January 19th.

The topic, “Small Business Policy, Stimulus Package, and Outlook for 2021,” was presented by Tom Sullivan, Vice President for Small Business Policy with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

During the presentation, Sullivan discussed the economic stimulus package passed by congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump near the end of 2020. “Very exciting, because there is a lot more money for small businesses,” he said.

According to Sullivan, more than $325 billion in this package was allocated to small business relief through a number of programs. “We had pushed Congress to try to target money to those businesses that needed help the most, and in particular, those small businesses that did not get PPPs [Payment Protection Program loans] before the program ended on August 8th, and for those small businesses that did get PPP, and are still just really getting hurt.”

He identified hospitality and restaurant industries as those being particularly hard-hit since the pandemic began. “Congress has tried to narrowly target those for a second PPP loan.”

Under the new stimulus package, chambers of commerce as well as travel and tourism nonprofits can apply for loans, according to Sullivan.

Two broad types of PPPs are currently available, First-Draw and Second-Draw loans. While a First-Draw loan represents a business or organization’s first time utilizing the program, the Second-Draw, which started January 13th, is available to those businesses that have exhausted or spent their first loan, have fewer than 300 employees, and can prove that they lost at least 25 percent of gross receipts in 2020, compared to 2019.

The deadline to apply for a loan from either of these categories is March 31st.

Sullivan went on to describe the Employee Retention Tax Credit, which alleviates the cost of maintaining employees despite hurt revenues over the last year. More information about the credit can be found on the Internal Revenue Service website.

“U.S. Census data show that less than 1 percent of America’s small business know what the Employee Retention Tax Credit is,” Sullivan said, adding, “There is a huge amount of small businesses who might be leaving cash on the table by not pressing their accountants or their bookkeepers or their payroll providers to get them information on how to take advantage of the Employee Retention Tax Credit.”

More information about government programs to alleviate the economic impacts of COVID-19 can be found on the Small Business Administration’s website.

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