LIC Partnership concerned about launch of federal bailout program for small businesses

Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead

The White House Press Office sent out an advisory Friday entitled “President Trump Will Always Fight for America’s Workers” that went into great detail how the administration is “working every day to offer them support and economic relief” during the coronavirus emergency.

It went on to describe support to help small businesses keep workers on their payroll with Friday’s launch of the Paycheck Protection Program, which is providing nearly $350 billion in loans to small businesses to help cover payroll and other costs.

But there was one problem with the launch — banks and other lenders weren’t prepared to process the flood of applications from small business owners. The institutions were awaiting key guidance from the federal Small Business Administration and the U.S.Treasury on how to administer the program.

In western Queens, the Long Island City Partnership received several reports that many banks and lenders were not ready to accept the applications. The loan program, part of a historic $2 trillion economic rescue package, is aimed at businesses with fewer than 500 employees.

“We are facing an unprecedented crisis and getting the right programs and infrastructure in place to meet the needs of small businesses is a complex, herculean task, but the Paycheck Protection Program is an important step to help those struggling,” Long Island City Partnership President Elizabeth Lusskin said. “It goes further than previous relief initiatives — offering 100 percent payroll covered for eight weeks, with the option to convert it to a grant, much wider eligibility including sole proprietorships, and no need to provide collateral. We hope that as the program gets underway, relief will flow quickly and to those most in need.”

The LIC Partnership will closely follow the development of the Paycheck Protection Program and continue to update its members as it gathers more information. In the meantime, the organization recommended that small business owners review a sample application to ensure they have the basic information for the application.

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