WASHINGTON (WPRI) — Just hours ahead of the deadline, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed an extension of the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) Tuesday night.
It now heads to the U.S. House and if approved, small businesses would then have until Aug. 8 to apply for a forgivable loan.
In Rhode Island, almost 99% of businesses are small businesses, according to the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 2019 Economic Profile.
As of June 27, the SBA has approved nearly 17,000 PPP loans worth more than $1.87 billion for Rhode Island small businesses. Nationally, 4.8 million PPP loans have been made totaling nearly $519 billion.
The SBA has also granted 13,448 EIDL advances worth more than $43.5 million along with 6,305 EIDL loans worth nearly $384 million to Rhode Island small businesses.
The potential extension of the PPP deadline could give businesses who didn’t apply another chance, as they might be incurring new costs from reopening they didn’t anticipate.
On Tuesday, Senate Small Business Committee Chairman Marco Rubio wrote on Twitter that while he had no objection to extending the deadline, a “vast majority of small businesses that wanted to benefit from the program have already used it,” adding, what needs to be passed next is “targeted help for those who need a second round of aid.”
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In Rhode Island, a coalition of small business leaders have started a petition for exactly that. They’re calling on Governor Gina Raimondo to allocate a portion of Rhode Island’s share ($1.25 billion) of CARES Act money to small businesses.
The petition was launched Tuesday afternoon, and had more than 700 signatures as of early Wednesday morning.
Justin Gontarek is a small business owner in Warwick and part of the coalition. He spoke to Eyewitness News Tuesday, several hours before the PPP deadline was set to expire.
“We’ve already gone through a, b and c, you know, everybody’s used all of that,” Gontarek said of PPP loans. “They had to purchase [items to accommodate] outdoor dining, different things they needed for inside of the business.”
“I think just there’s this wave and a swarm of uncertainty of, ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do,’ and I think it’s almost chaotic in a sense,” he continued.
Nationally, about $519 billion in loans had been granted in PPP loans so far.
If House lawmakers do not go for the extension, it would potentially leave $130 billion in available PPP loans unused.