STATEWIDE – Ten thousand dollar grants, forgivable loans and free Small Business Administration loan payments?
The new stimulus package signed into law late last week by the president has several levels of relief for small businesses in Maine.
“One is called the Paycheck Protection Plan Loan and loan forgiveness program, which is going to provide a forgivable loan to small business that are able to maintain their payroll and their employees,” said State Sen. Heather Sanborn, D-Cumberland who is also co-owner of Rising Tide Brewing Co.
The program allows for up to eight weeks of payroll and other costs to be forgiven under certain criteria for businesses of 500 or fewer employees … mostly surrounding keeping employees working.
“The second piece of it is that the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program is now going to include $10,000 grants, which are fashioned as an advance of the SBA Economic Disaster Loan,” Sanborn said
She said the goal of the legislation is to keep small businesses operating.
The third provision helps businesses that are financed with SBA loans.
“The SBA is going to be making payments, loan payments, both principal and interest on behalf of businesses, with existing SBA loans,” Sanborn said.
Since the legislation passed late last week, banks and credit unions are currently waiting for the rules to be established.
“It will be no sooner than a week and it may be two weeks,” said Jim Donnelly, Bangor Savings Bank, executive vice president.
In the meantime, he said, owners can begin to collect paperwork, such as payroll for the last year, utility bills and debt costs.
“I think just starting the preparation while the SBA works on the rules and what the application will look like will help us expedite it once the applications are open,” said Donnelly.
“Maine has a huge number of small businesses and … it looks like it could be a tremendous help to Maine and Maine business,” he said.