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Monday
June 14th, 2021

ELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times

 

Assistance continues to be needed in many areas of the state and recently, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly offered encouragement for some areas to apply for that assistance. 

The first of these happened late last month, with Gov. Kelly encouraging small businesses to apply for Paycheck Protection Program funds ahead of the program’s extended deadline of May 31. Kansans can continue to submit applications for forgivable loans for pandemic-battered small businesses.

“Kansas small businesses are the backbone of our economy,” Gov. Kelly noted in an April 29 State of Kansas release. “Additional PPP funding will help fuel our continued economic recovery, and I encourage all eligible small businesses to apply for PPP funds before the May 31 deadline. I will continue to push for additional stimulus funding to support our small businesses as we get our state back to normal. Led by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Treasury Department, the PPP is a federally administered program providing loans to small businesses to cover payroll expenses. The SBA began accepting applications through Community Financial Institutions on January 11 and through all other financial institutions on January 19. The deadline to apply has been extended to May 31.”

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During the 2020 distribution of PPP money, 54,000 small businesses in Kansas received $5 billion in funding, the State of Kansas release noted, and the 2021 PPP aims to make the program more attractive for small businesses and target the worst impacted industries through the following changes:

• Forgiveness has been simplified for borrowers of $150 thousand or less, with self-certification option to attest funds are spent appropriately;

• Hospitality businesses, including hotels and restaurants, are eligible for an increased loan total (3.5x monthly payroll);

• Eligible expenses paid for with forgiven PPP loans may now be deducted on taxes for 2020 and 2021 & employers are now eligible for the Employee Retention Tax Credit even after taking PPP funds (reverses earlier guidance from IRS);

• Employers no longer must deduct Economic Injury Disaster Loans from their PPP loan total (EIDL program was refunded with an additional $40B also);

• Additional categories are now eligible as non-payroll expenses (up to 40 percent of total loan amount), with operational expenses (including software, cloud services, accounting services, etc.), supplier costs, damage from social unrest, and worker protection expenses;

• Additional groups are eligible for loans, including 501(c)(6)s, housing cooperatives, and direct marketing organizations.

“Under the newly extended program, $234 billion are available with $12 billion earmarked for businesses in low-income & minority communities, as well as $15 billion in grants dedicated to live entertainment venues,” the State of Kansas release noted. “Through Community Financial Institutions, the SBA hopes to encourage greater access to PPP funds. Businesses that have not received PPP funds previously are eligible for loans up to $10 million if they have 500 or fewer employees. Businesses that received PPP funds during the first round are eligible for up to $2 million in funding if they have 300 or fewer employees.”

More recently, Gov. Kelly encouraged Kansas restaurants and eligible businesses in the hospitality industry to apply for federal funding through the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Restaurant Applications became open Monday.

“These RRF grants will boost our hospitality industry and aid our continued economic recovery as we get our state back to normal,” Gov. Kelly noted in a May 4 release from the State of Kansas. “I strongly encourage all eligible businesses to apply for this program and thank the SBA for their partnership to provide relief for Kansas businesses.”

“Restaurants are vital to our state’s hospitality sector, and this program exists solely to help them,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland noted in the May 4 release. “Hospitality businesses have been incredibly resilient through this historic and unprecedented challenge, and restaurants have had to be creative to get through the storm. This program is a lifeline for them, and I would encourage all Kansas restaurant owners who need help to take full advantage.”

The American Rescue Plan Act established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) to provide funding to help restaurants and other eligible businesses keep their doors open, the State of Kansas release noted. The program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss, up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023, the State of Kansas release noted.

Entities eligible for the RRF include:

• Restaurants

• Food stands, food trucks, food carts

• Caterers

• Bars, saloons, lounges, taverns

•  Snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars

• Additional entities if onsite food or beverage sales are at least 33 percent of gross receipts (e.g. Bakeries, brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms, breweries and/or microbreweries, Wineries and distilleries, Inns).

“As we look toward the future, it is crucial that we support the restaurant industry in every way we can,” Ryan Wills, Kansas Department of Commerce Hospitality Industry Liaison, noted in the May 4 release. “Food service organizations provide nourishment to our community not just through food, but also through fellowship. They are essential to our economic vitality, and the Department of Commerce is looking forward to the RRF providing much needed relief to businesses across our great state.”

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