Recognizing that small businesses continue to face challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rep. Mikie Sherrill has launched a second survey for small businesses in the 11th district.
Small businesses have been hard hit over the past four months, with many forced to downsize or close. Financial assistance in the forms of loans and grants has been made available to small businesses, but many challenges still exist.
“New Jersey has made significant strides in our work to flatten the curve and stem the spread of COVID-19 in our state, but our small businesses are still suffering under the weight of this pandemic,” Sherrill said.
PPP and EIDL Changes
Sherrill hopes that this second survey will help her identify ways that she can continue to support small businesses in her district. As a result of the initial survey conducted in April, she learned about roadblocks and challenges that small businesses were facing in regards to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), and other grant programs.
“I fought hard for specific, important changes to the PPP and EIDL program after hearing directly from small businesses about their experiences, and I know there is more work to be done,” Sherrill said. “These surveys help me advocate for the critical needs of our New Jersey small business community during this crisis.”
This second survey asks businesses to answer questions related to topics that include:
- Number of employees pre-pandemic, and current number of employees.
- Revenue levels, current versus pre-pandemic.
- Current operational status.
- Any financial assistance that was received.
- Struggles currently experiencing.
The full survey can be viewed here.
First Survey Leads to Legislation
More than 340 small business owners from 50 towns in Sherrill’s district replied to her initial survey. As a result of concerns expressed by her constituents, Sherrill sent recommendations to the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) regarding feedback she received related to the PPP and EIDL programs.
Proposals included in her letter to the Department of the Treasury and SBA were included in the bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, which she co-sponsored and President Donald Trump signed into law.
This act made the PPP program more accessible and usable for the small businesses that received funding. Among the components of the legislation are:
- Allowing loan forgiveness for expenses beyond the 8-week covered period to 24 weeks and extending the rehiring deadline.
- Increasing the current limitation on the use of loan proceeds for non-payroll expenses from 25 percent to 40 percent
- Extending the program from June 30 to December 31.
- Extending loan terms from two years to five years.
- Ensuring full access to payroll tax deferment for businesses that take PPP loans.
“I’ve heard from small businesses across the district struggling and frustrated who need greater flexibility, transparency, and communication with the PPP and EIDL programs,” said Sherrill. “There is more to do on PPP and I will keep fighting for our small businesses.”