Inhofe says stimulus bill is ‘very significant’ for Oklahoma – The Journal Record
5 meses ago thewallstreetone Comentarios desactivados en Inhofe says stimulus bill is ‘very significant’ for Oklahoma – The Journal Record
A massive federal response to the coronavirus disaster unveiled Wednesday would include provisions for emergency grants, forgivable loans and tax credits that may help Oklahoma businesses keep their doors open and employees on the job.
A last-minute Senate squabble over details of unemployment benefits caused the mammoth relief package to stall Wednesday afternoon, but lawmakers seemed intent on passing what would be the largest economic stimulus in the nation’s history.
The $2 trillion relief package would include provisions for cash payments of $1,200 to be made to lower- and middle-income adults and $500 each for children.
According to details provided by U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, businesses in Oklahoma and around the country would be eligible to receive emergency grants worth $10,000 through the Small Business Administration to help with immediate expenses. They also would be able to apply through the SBA for loans of up to $10 million. Inhofe said loans provided to help with up to eight weeks of immediate operating expenses such as payroll and rent would not have to be paid back. After the first eight weeks, payments on loan amounts not forgiven would be deferred for a year with no interest charged. Terms following that would be negotiable with lenders.
Inhofe noted that six months’ worth of payments on previous loans that businesses may have taken out through the SBA would be forgiven.
“I think it’s very significant,” Inhofe said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday morning. “We’ve been inundated from the very beginning of this by calls from small businesses. They’ve been suffering every hour. They want to protect their employees and ensure that this unprecedented disaster isn’t going to take their business or employees away.”
Struggling businesses would be provided with incentives to keep employees. They would be eligible for tax credits of up to 50% on wages paid, with credits continuing until their revenues rise to at least 80% of levels prior to the pandemic.
Most individual adult Americans would receive $1,200. Additionally, those with dependent children would receive $500 per child. The Treasury would deposit money directly into bank accounts of taxpayers who arranged last year to receive tax rebate checks via direct deposit. Others would receive checks in the mail. Goals as outlined would be to provide relief for people who have lost jobs or income as a result of the pandemic and also to keep money circulating in the nation’s economy.
Under the plan considered in the Senate, Americans who have been laid off would be eligible to receive an extra month of enhanced unemployment benefits. The plan was held up after concerns were expressed by some Republican senators that the enhancements would “incentivize” individuals not to return to work. As it was presented, the provision would include four months of bolstered unemployment benefits, including an increase of the maximum unemployment benefit by $600.
As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, that element of the aid package was still being debated.
Inhofe said hospitals and clinics in Oklahoma would receive much-needed money under the plan to offset expenses related to their response to coronavirus and COVID-19. Up to $130 billion provided also would help local governments, states and tribes offset coronavirus costs.
“We’ve taken the position that the more local you are, the more aware you’re going to be of local needs,” Inhofe said.
Money was not included in the plan to fill holes in budgets that might result from losses of sales or other tax revenues.
Some business specifics of the relief package would include:
$367 billion in federally guaranteed loans through the SBA for businesses with 500 or fewer employees. Loans may be used for payroll, health care, mortgage or any other debt obligation.
Potential for loan forgiveness if money is used to retain workers.
Sole-proprietors, independent contractors and other self-employed individuals would be eligible.
Package specifics for larger businesses include:
$500 billion provided through the Treasury Department’s Exchange Stabilization Fund for loans, loan guarantees and other investments.
Direct lending of $50 billion for passenger air carriers, $8 billion for cargo air carriers, $17 billion for businesses important to national security, and $425 billion for eligible businesses, states and municipalities.
At the Tulsa Regional Chamber, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Elizabeth Osburn said chamber officials were pleased that the federal aid package would include provisions to help small businesses remain open and retain employees.
“I think that really may inject some stability and allow businesses to keep their doors open,” she said.
Osburn noted the relief measure also would include money to help airlines weather the current economic turbulence. That would be important, she said, as American Airlines has a strong presence in Tulsa, employing more than 5,500 people at its Base Maintenance Facility there. She said financial aid for hospitals would be critically important, too, as many hospitals in the state have had to pick up extra costs related to the coronavirus while at the same time losing revenues because they’ve been unable to do elective surgeries or other patient care unrelated to the virus.
At the State Chamber of Oklahoma, Vice President Mike Jackson said the legislation under consideration Wednesday was cause for optimism, perhaps especially in the relief it would provide for small businesses.
“Businesses of all shapes and sizes from all sectors are hurting right now,” he said. “Obviously, the situation is still very fluid, but the relief package details released today are a step in the right direction. … In addition to a delay of payroll taxes, the State Chamber is glad to see the package provides much-needed relief to small businesses across the state and industries hit the hardest during this pandemic, including retail, tourism, travel and restaurants.”
Jake Dollarhide, chief executive officer at Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa, agreed that relief for small businesses would be especially welcome.
“These grants and loans are in effect helping small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy, to stay in business,” he said. “This has much more to do with Main Street than it does Wall Street.”
Dollarhide said the federal government should act decisively to provide stability to the economy as the nation continues to struggle with the science of solving the COVID-19 crisis.
“It will be landmark legislation,” he said. “This pandemic, what makes it different from other crisis events we’ve seen in the past is the fear and uncertainty of it. (The relief package if passed would) help to ensure that the economy is going to be OK as we deal with the other side of it, the health care side.”