Alva Review-Courier -

Carl's Capitol Comments: Relief available to constituents

 


First, I would like to say please heed the warnings about personal distancing and keeping your hands clean. The difference between this and other viruses is that you can have the virus in your system for up to 14 days WITHOUT any symptoms. Thus, all the people you have made contact with in the last two weeks could be infected and you would have no knowledge of having exposed them. So, please, my friends, be careful and use common sense and great hygiene practices in the next few weeks to months.

There are many businesses and families that will be so negatively affected by this virus, so I wanted to share some relief efforts that are available to my constituents.

When the emergency was declared in all 77 counties in Oklahoma due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SBA (Small Business Administration) put in place a disaster loan program for which businesses and nonprofit groups can apply. The form for this program is available at https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance. You can receive a loan of up to $2 million through the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.

Payments on these SBA loans from previous disasters also can be deferred to Dec. 31, 2020.

However, over this past week another program was put in place by the federal government to help stabilize our small businesses. One provision of the package would allow small businesses affected by COVID-19 to take out a 7(a) loan of up to $10 million through Dec. 31, 2020, to help retain workers, maintain payroll costs and other debt obligations such as paid sick or medical leave, insurance premiums, mortgage payments and utilities. Payroll costs, mortgage payment interest fees, rent and utility payments could be forgiven from Feb. 15, 2020, through June 15, 2020, if businesses can show they were in business prior to February and retained employees through June.

The ideas of this is to keep employees connected to their current employer even during the crisis and to have unemployment benefits flow through the employer.

Oklahoma businesses interested in learning more about Small Business Administration disaster loans available through the federal relief bill should register for CONFERENCE CALLS with the Oklahoma Commerce Department this week. Registration is available here: https://www.okcommerce.gov/oklahoma-small-business-teleconference-sba-economic-injury-disaster-loan-application-and-program/.

For those unemployed because of the virus, Gov. Stitt has waived the traditional one-week waiting period to file for unemployment and the work-search requirement. The federal bill increases benefits to those unemployed and broadens who is eligible. Those who qualify will receive an additional $600 per week from the federal government for four months. The legislation also adds 13 weeks of additional unemployment insurance. Even those who earn primarily tips or gig wages could qualify for benefits by showing a previous year’s tax return.

Another part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) passed this past week was that all citizens with an adjusted gross income under $75,000 or joint income under $150,000 who are not a dependent and have a work history are eligible for a $1,200 rebate. They are also eligible for an additional $500 per dependent child This also is to help those in this great time of need.

I’ve had some questions about what constitutes a critical business in light of the governor’s order for non-essential businesses to close in counties where positive cases of COVID-19 have been reported. Here is a helpful website: https://criticalworker.ok.gov.

I will keep you posted on this and other issues in the coming weeks. Remember, you can always reach me at 405-557-7339 or [email protected] Thanks for allowing me to serve you. May God bless you and Oklahoma!

 

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