Businesses for Responsible Tax Reform Representatives Ask Speaker Pelosi to Keep Focus on Small Business During Virtual Roundtable on COVID-19 Crisis

Businesses for Responsible Tax Reform Representatives Ask Speaker Pelosi to Keep Focus on Small Business During Virtual Roundtable on COVID-19 Crisis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BRTR co-chairs say that with help small business can lead country back to prosperity; ask Speaker to create no-strings-attached small business grants, rollback PPP tax hit from IRS Notice 2020-32 and extend PPP loan forgiveness period

WASHINGTON, DC, May 5, 2020--Representatives from Businesses for Responsible Tax Reform (BRTR) were featured speakers during today’s roundtable discussion with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and asked that Congress take concrete actions to help small businesses recover from the COVID-19 economic crisis so they can lead the country back to prosperity.

During the virtual event, hosted by the Small Business Roundtable, BRTR Co-chairs Anne Zimmerman, Frank Knapp, Jr. and Shaundell Newsome shared their experiences as small business owners with Speaker Pelosi (full comments at end of release) and said, given the proper tools, small businesses can lead the country to back prosperity. Zimmerman specifically asked that Congress:

–Create no-strings-attached grants for truly small businesses that will allow them to stay open and continue employing as many people as before the crisis started.

–Legislate to overrule IRS Notice 2020-32, which, in essence, makes the Paycheck Protection Program loans taxable, against the intent of Congress.

–Expand the eight week period for forgiveness of PPP loans to two and a half months–the same period considered for establishing loan size. Absent this change, many small businesses will be stuck with a loan balance that they must repay, regardless of whether they retained their entire staff. This discrepancy also hurts all self-employed workers.

“It was great to have the opportunity to discuss the needs of small businesses with Speaker Pelosi,” said BRTR Co-chair Shaundell Newsome, founder of Sumnu Marketing LLC in Las Vegas and chairman of the Las Vegas Urban Chamber of Commerce. “There were serious issues with the rollout of the CARES Act that left many small businesses at the end of the line for assistance, and there is a lot more work that needs to be done to ensure our Main Street businesses survive this once-in-a-century calamity. But if our leaders keep working, the strength, hard work and creativity of America’s entrepreneurs will lead us back to prosperity, just like they did following the Great Recession. I believe Speaker Pelosi heard that message and took it to heart.”

 

Prepared Comments from BRTR Co-chairs for Roundtable with Speaker Pelosi

BRTR Co-chair Shaundell Newsome, owner of Sumnu Marketing in Las Vegas, Nev.) and Chair of the Las Vegas  Urban Chamber of Commerce

Thank you, Madam Speaker, for holding this roundtable.

My name is Shaundell Newsome. I am a small business owner and also the Chairman of the Board for the Urban Chamber of Commerce in Nevada, representing small and diverse companies throughout the Silver State. There are 270,000 small businesses–representing 99% of all businesses–in Nevada. We employ 487,000 people, nearly 100,000 of whom work for minority-owned businesses. Yet Nevada had just 8,600 PPP loans approved in the first round.

My personal story is similar to many smaller firms, moms and pops, or what we call mainstream small businesses. During the first round of the PPP, we learned a hard lesson–that not all small businesses are created equal.

My family-owned business, started in 2006, is now in its third generation and a recipient of the SBA Nevada Family Owned Business of the Year. We are veteran owned, minority owned and woman owned, with my daughter succeeding me as primary owner. We are a marketing firm with 10-15 employees at any given time.

As a representative of the Chamber, I heard that many smaller firms were not funded because they did not have strong banking relationships and were not prepared. But we were not funded by the PPP in the first round even though we were prepared. For more than a decade, we have had an outstanding relationship with our small business banker. We keep our financials solid. And as a military family, we were prepared for a disaster, even though this one is unprecedented. We eventually got funded during the second round after Nevada leaders in the House and Senate fought for smaller firms.

This process exposed, yet again, the disparity in access to capital that has been an issue since I started my firm 14 years ago. The SBA and our legislators need to make a priority to improve access to capital for small businesses, focusing on very small and minority owned firms in particular.

BRTR Co-Chair Frank Knapp, Jr., small business owner and president & CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce   

Thank you, Madam Speaker, for holding this roundtable.

My name is Frank Knapp. I am a small business owner and I am also the president and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, which I co-founded in the year 2000.

In the first round of PPP loans, only 23,000 of the more than 400,000 small businesses in my state received loans.

Let me describe my personal story as an example of how these loans were not first come, first served as the SBA regulations required.

My family has a small dog kennel. In March, all the boarding business stopped, and most employees were laid off.

We notified our commercial bank of 20 years that we wanted to apply for a loan. But the day before the loan process started the bank recommended that we apply to an online lender. Neither the online lender nor another bank helped us. Two weeks later, our bank told us that they were now ready to process loans. But we found out that they had already been successfully processing loans for other customers.

We did get a loan last week–a month after we first tried.

The bottom line is that the success of small businesses receiving a loan to survive should not have depended on the bank they used or if the bank wanted to make the loan.

The process was simply unfair.

BRTR Co-chair Anne Zimmerman,  owner of  Zimmerman & Co CPAs Inc. with offices in Cincinnati and Cleveland, Ohio

Thank you for the opportunity to address you today, Madame Speaker.

I am Anne Zimmerman, a CPA from Cincinnati, Ohio, employing six people and I am completely buried in the details of the recent small business relief acts. I am also the co-chair of Businesses For Responsible Tax Reform, a small business advocacy group that formed in response to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017. We work for fairness for truly small businesses in the areas of tax and economic security.

The country will not recover from this economic crisis if our small businesses do not survive to lead the way back to economic prosperity. We need Congress to help the truly small small-businesses that will continue to struggle despite the PPP loans.

To that end, I ask that you consider a few things in the next relief package:

First, I recommend no-strings-attached grants to truly small businesses. This will allow us to stay open and operational so we can make it to the other side of this crisis and employ as many, or more, than we did before this all started.

Second, I ask that Congress legislate to overrule IRS Notice 2020-32, which, in essence, made the PPP loans taxable against the intent of Congress. I have written a paper about this and will present it to you through the organizers of this meeting.

Next, I ask that Congress expand the eight week period for forgiveness of PPP loans to two and a half months–the same period considered for establishing loan size. Absent this change, many small businesses will be stuck with a loan balance that they must repay, regardless of whether they retained their entire staff. This discrepancy in the two time periods also hurts all self-employed workers. It is currently not possible for them to have their full original loan amounts forgiven if they are a one-person shop without meaningful rent expenses.

Finally, I ask you to continue working to lower prescription drug costs. My daughter and granddaughter have Type 1 diabetes and another daughter has rheumatoid arthritis. They rely on prescription drugs to stay alive and out of a wheelchair but their medication can cost thousands of dollars even with insurance. No one should ever have to choose between staying alive and bankruptcy.

Thank you again for allowing me to be heard.

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About Businesses for Responsible Tax Reform
Businesses for Responsible Tax Reform is a coalition of business leaders calling for tax reform that truly benefits America’s small business owners. We are dedicated to ensuring tax reform is fiscally responsible, creates a level playing field for all businesses, grows the economy and works for our nation’s 30 million small business owners. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Contact:
Conan Knoll
conan@emcstrategies.com
(831) 524-6764