A Quick Guide to the GCP Advocacy Priorities in the December Stimulus
In late December 2020, President Trump signed the Continuing Appropriations Act, an omnibus bill that will fund the federal government but also provide relief to families, workers, employers, and businesses facing fallout from COVID-19. Here is our overview of key stimulus provisions included in the act that were GCP advocacy priorities.
Enhancement to the Paycheck Protection Program
Section 4 makes the below expenses allowable and forgivable uses for PPP funds. It also allows loans made under PPP before, on, or after the enactment of the act to be eligible to utilize the expanded forgivable expenses, except for borrowers who have already had their loans forgiven.
- Covered operations expenditures: Software, cloud computing, and other human resources and accounting needs
- Covered property damage costs: Property damage due to public disturbances that occurred during 2020 that are not covered by insurance
- Covered supplier costs: Contracts, purchase orders, or orders for goods in effect prior to taking out the loan that are essential to the recipient’s operations
- Covered worker protection expenditure: Personal protective equipment and adaptive investments to help a loan recipient comply with federal health and safety guidelines or any equivalent State and Local guidance related to COVID-19.
Read Our PPP Second Draw Loan Guide
Other Small Business Support
Section 29 of the act enhances the microloan program to increase access to micro capital and technical assistance under the program for businesses impacted by the pandemic. Enhancements include temporarily increasing the amount of time that borrowers can repay their loans from 6 to 8 years and providing $50 million in funding for Microloan Technical Assistance funding for lenders and $7 million to leverage about $64 million more in microloans to businesses.
Section 31 provides additional targeted funding for eligible entities located in low-income communities through the EIDL Advance program from Section 1110 of the CARES Act. Entities in low-income communities that received an EIDL Advance are eligible to receive an amount equal to the difference of what they received under the CARES Act and $10,000. The provision also provides $10,000 grants to eligible applicants in low-income communities that did not secure grants because funding had run out.
The act includes the following incentives for hiring and retaining workers:
Extends, expands, and significantly improves the Employee Retention Tax Credit, offering a 70% credit on up to $10,000 of wages per employee per quarter to help keep employees on payroll and connected with their jobs.
- Improves the coordination between the Employee Retention Tax Credit and the Paycheck Protection Program by allowing access to both programs while preventing a double dip.
- Clarifies that expenses paid with the proceeds of a forgiven PPP loan are deductible.
- Extends the Work Opportunity Tax Credit for five years, helping employers continue to hire disadvantaged individuals.
New Markets Tax Credit
- Section 112 extends annual $5 billion allocations of the New Markets Tax Credit for years 2021 through 2025. The provision also extends through 2030 the carryover period for unused New Markets Tax Credits.
- The act provides $14 billion for transit emergency relief to support operating assistance. In combination with amounts provided in the CARES Act, this funding will ensure both urban and rural transit agencies receive amounts based on their operating expenses.
- The bill also provides $50 million and spending flexibility for paratransit providers.
Section 902 establishes an Office of Minority Broadband Initiatives at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to focus on broadband access and adoption at historically black colleges or universities, tribal colleges and universities, and other minority-serving institutions, including the students, faculty, and staff of such institutions and their surrounding communities. It also appropriates $285 million for a Pilot Program to award grants to these institutions and certain businesses and non-profit organizations in the community to support connectivity, and it specifies that at least 20% of such funds should be used to ensure that students have internet service and devices.
Section 904 allocated $3.2 billion for an Emergency Broadband Benefit Program at the FCC, under which eligible households may receive a discount of up to $50 off the cost of internet service and a subsidy for low-cost devices such as computers and tablets. Internet service providers that provide the discounted service or devices to customers can receive a reimbursement from the FCC for such costs. Households that qualify for the benefit include those with:
- Children that qualify for the free and reduced lunch program
- Pell grant recipients
- Recently laid off or furloughed workers
- An individual who qualifies for the Lifeline program
- Or an individual who qualifies for a low-income or COVID-19 discount program offered by internet service providers