Home News Local News Stimulus package gives more than $64 billion to businesses

Stimulus package gives more than $64 billion to businesses


Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

The third federal coronavirus stimulus package includes numerous benefits for individuals, health care entities, governments and public agencies, but it also will mean more than $64 billion for agribusiness and small businesses nationally.

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, or House Resolution 1319, was passed by Congress on Wednesday and signed by President Joe Biden on Thursday.

Most Republican Congressional members opposed it, including U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell of New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District. In her statement upon its passage, she said that taxpayers had been misled by the “Democrat-only” legislation.

In his comments upon signing the bill, Biden said the “historic” bill was about giving working and middle-class families “a fighting chance.” On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Lujan, U.S. Reps. Deb Haaland and Teresa Leger Fernandez and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham held a press conference in support of the bill.

Most of the business-related programs will be administered either by divisions of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or by the U.S. Small Business Administration, with specific guidance and application processes expected to be announced in coming months.

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Mike Espiritu, president of the Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corp., said that he thinks grant funds and money made available through local governments will be helpful.

“We are going to be getting information out to people,” Espiritu said, adding that his agency won’t be administering the funds or acting as a fiscal agent. “We are going to do what we can to help both the city and county identify people who need those funds. We are going to reach out and help people get the applications.”

The federal bill includes the following types of grants and loans for business owners who experienced losses due to the COVID-19 crisis or who have faced historic inequities related to securing credit or financial assistance.

• Socially disadvantaged farmers, ranchers or forestry landowners can receive a payment of up to 120% of any remaining debt owed as of January 2021 on loans administered by the Farm Service Agency or Community Credit Farm Storage Facility Loans if they have suffered losses related to the pandemic or historic bias or discrimination.

• Grants and loans of $1.01 billion will be available for disadvantaged farmers, ranchers or forestry landowners, including some set aside as compensation to disadvantaged agribusiness owners who can show adverse actions regarding past credit decisions due to discrimination or bias.

• In addition, the Secretary of Agriculture and the Commodity Credit Corp. of the Department of Agriculture have been provided money to buy and distribute commodities from agribusinesses. The Commodity Credit Corp. has received $800 million.

• States participating in the Small Business Credit Initiative of the U.S Treasury will receive $10 billion to provide financial and technical assistance to small and disadvantaged businesses that have experienced COVID-related financial hardships. According to the U.S. Treasury website, the New Mexico Economic Development Department is the state’s participant in the initiative. Of the $10 billion for the SBCI, $1.5 billion is exclusively for businesses owned and controlled by people defined by federal policy as economically or socially disadvantaged and $500 million is reserved for “very small businesses” of 10 or fewer employees.

• The Paycheck Protection Program, a loan program through the Small Business Administration that was established by the first federal stimulus package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) of March 2020, has received another $7.25 billion in funding. The program has loaned about $162 billion of the funding that was made available by the second stimulus bill that took effect Dec. 27, according to the SBA website. That would leave about $122 billion still available from that round of funding, as well.

• The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program has received an additional $15 billion, with $5 billion targeted for businesses with 10 or fewer employees. In some instances, grants of up to $5,000 are available and are not considered gross income for federal tax purposes.

• A Restaurant Revitalization Fund to be administered by the SBA to cover COVID-related losses at food and drink establishments received $28.6 billion, with $5 billion set aside for businesses with revenues of $500,000 or less. It will allow grants covering losses of up to $10 million. If businesses have received prior federal stimulus funds, they might not be eligible for the money. The grants also can be tax exempt.

• A Community Navigation Pilot Program has been funded for $100 million. Nonprofits or entities associated with state, local or tribal governments are eligible if they help provide access to relief funding for small business owners.

• The Shuttered Venue Operators program has received an additional $1.25 billion. This program was originally created by the second stimulus bill signed in December 2020, when it received $15 billion. It provides loans and grants for privately owned movie and performing arts theaters, museums, event venues, concert and entertainment sites, and talent representatives and promoters.

In addition to the small business relief, aviation manufacturers have received $3 billion and airlines have received additional relief money of about $14 billion intended for retaining or rehiring employees.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.