As we all know, small businesses serve as the economic engines that drive communities across our state. Their success is Ohio’s success, and we must never fail to support them.
This has become increasingly true as we continue to combat the COVID-19 crisis.
Right now, as our nation faces a pandemic, our businesses hang in the balance. The current crisis has brought about no shortage of new anxieties as job creators and employees alike face unprecedented challenges. As our public health officials tackle the medical aspects of containing this virus, public finance officials are zeroing in on preserving our economy.
With that said, I want to make sure Ohio’s small businesses are aware of a very important federal program that was just established.
As part of the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was created for small business owners and their employees. Through the program, nearly $350 billion has been allocated to provide immediate relief to small businesses that maintain payrolls during the crisis.
Administered through the Small Business Administration, the PPP provides 100% federally-guaranteed loans to small businesses. These are one-time loans that may be used to cover payroll costs and overhead such as mortgage interest, rent, and utility costs over an eight-week timespan. These loans will be forgiven so long as they are used to cover qualified costs and maintain payroll through the current crisis. Current employee and compensation levels must also be maintained to qualify for loan forgiveness.
Enrollment in the PPP began Friday, April 3 for small businesses and sole proprietorships. Independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply for loans beginning on Friday, April 10.
For more information about the PPP and how the SBA can help you and your business during these difficult times, please visit their website, www.sba.gov/coronavirus. You can also visit your local lending institution to see if they are a participating SBA lender.
As dire as our current situation may seem, I believe this new SBA program can serve as an instrumental resource to ensure our workers and job creators are supported through the crisis.
And remember, as Governor DeWine often says during his daily news briefings – we’re in this together, Ohio.
Let’s do our best to support each other during this time.
Robert Sprague is Ohio treasurer.