Jun 29, 2020 5:17 PM

Businesses encouraged to get help to survive a COVID-19 economy

Posted Jun 29, 2020 5:17 PM

By BRENT MARTIN

St. Joseph Post

Time is running out for small businesses to apply for one of the main federal programs designed to help businesses survive the COVID-19 economic slowdown.

Regional Director Rebecca Lobina with the Northwest Missouri Small Business Development Center reminds business owners plenty of money remains in the Payroll Protection Program.

“The rules for the PPP have changed many, many, many times,” Lobina says with a chuckle, “but I believe they’re pretty final now.”

The program offers a fully forgivable loan to small businesses as long as at least 60% is used to keep employees on the payroll. The rest can be used for mortgage interest, rent, and utilities.

Lobina says little time remains to apply for the money.

“If you’re still thinking it’s on the back burner and you might use it later, later is now, because June 30th is the last day you can apply and get the funds,” Lobina tells host Barry Birr on the KFEQ Hotline.

Initially, the program ran out of funds. Congress, though, approved more money for it. Lobina says plenty of money remains in the program.

Though businesses have only today or tomorrow to apply for PPP, other loans, tax credits, and even grants are available as well.

“But all of it is intended to help the business’ owners cash flow so it is less than they have to pay out,” according to Lobina.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) loan is a 30-year loan with a 3.75% interest rate. Qualifying small businesses can also hold off from paying their share of the Social Security tax through the remainder of this year. The FFCRA Paid Leave Credit allows businesses to retain their federal withholdings to cover the cost of qualified sick leave, including health plan expenses. The Employment Retention Credit is available to businesses with a decline in gross receipts of 50% or more due to COVID-19 restrictions, with a maximum credit of $5,000 per employee.

Lobina says a program the Small Business Administration has run for decades could help area businesses struggling during this economy hammered by the coronavirus. The SBA 7a Loan Program offers loans in which the SBA actually pays the first six months payments for all 7a loans approved by the end of September.

Also, loans and grants are available to businesses from the City of St. Joseph and Buchanan County.