By Clint Thompson
The Paycheck Protection Program might be an option for farmers to consider, but Congressman Austin Scott implores those interested to apply today.
The recently passed $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which is intended to provide financial relief amid the coronavirus pandemic, includes $350 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program. It is designed to aid small businesses.
“There are significant questions that remain out there about whether or not farmers can actually apply for and get relief from the Paycheck Protection Act. Here’s the best advice I can give you. You need to be talking with your lender and you need to look at the application. If you can answer those questions honestly, then you need to put an application in,” Scott said. “When I say put it in, I don’t mean you need to put it in tomorrow. I mean you need to put it in today.”
Scott said that according to the Small Business Administration there is an estimated 30 million small businesses that are eligible for paycheck protection relief, which will provide eight weeks of financial assistance. Scott expects funds to run out quick.
“My concern has been based on the $350 billion number that if you just divide that by the number of small businesses, my fear is that we’ve over-promised on what we’re going to be able to do on the paycheck protection, simply based on the $350 billion being divided by 30 million businesses. You come up with $11,600 per business. If only half of the people apply that’s $23,000 per business,” Scott said. “You’re talking about two months payroll plus rent and utilities. I think the money goes and I think it goes very quick. In fact, I do not believe there will be money left at the end of the day today.
“The question comes, when does it get replenished? And not just if, but if it gets replenished and when would it get replenished? I think you’re talking about well over a month before any additional legislative action is taken.”