As a very active member of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce and member of the Board of Directors, I find it highly important to know what the business community is talking about in our community and how it affects both our business, our clients businesses and our community at large. Take a look at my personal notes from the Chamber chat with Senator Tim Kaine this afternoon at 1pm.
Chamber discussion with Senator Tim Kaine
VA was in a strong position prior to the Covid-19 Crisis per Governor Northam.
Chambers and businesses represent the community and are standing ready to survive the crisis.
It is unfortunate and it has to be acknowledged: we are 6-8 weeks behind where we should have been. The President and the team didn’t do what they should have done. S. Korea and the US had the same scenario, and the US didn’t do what they needed to do to act.
Health materials are achieving momentum.
8BB in funding
100BB to paid sick leave expanded un-insurance
Covid 3 bill- economic backstop – most significant bill. passed on 3/25 had 5 specific pillars
2.2TRILLION bigger than fiscal collapse
- 1)support for individuals expanded un-insurance and independent
- 2)support for small businesses (SBA loan programs- went live last Friday
- 3)Support for industry sectors and larger businesses – paycheck protection
- 4)Support state to state and local government protection
- 5)Support for hospitals and healthcare networks
The senate and house are working on 2 things but are currently on a break- until 4/20 for social distancing and because of planned recess.
They are trying to do within the first 3 bills- the implementation challenges- the applications being flooded in. –
As we are seeing challenges within the first 2 pillars, to get the information to Tim Kaine and his team and get the teams to fix the issues.
There will be additional corona virus bills. It will likely try to fix things they didn’t get right in the beginning – they did all of this within 3 weeks….
they are gathering information from Virginians about how they need to adjust the bills that were originally passed.
They would love the recommendations from State wide leaders and individual leaders.
How is work being divided?
- All senators Warner (pillars2/3) banking and financing in aide to small and large businesses.
- Former mayor and governor- (pillars4/5) state and local and higher education and healthcare Senator Kaine- working on this work.
This is how he has been working on the work
He is acknowledging this- very, very difficult time. We are worried about our livelihoods, health, health of employees, and how to take care of our people.
People who have had to lay off folks, who have never had to do this- just stay healthy…. People have already lost people to the virus. There is not a single one of us who are not untouched by this.
We need leadership ideas so we can deliver things in a smart way, so we can deliver things in the next bills.
Beginning the Question/Answer portion of the call:
Q:Demand on the SBA for the administrative overhead and how the barriers are in and what do we hope we will learn:
A:All of the programs- we are worried about the crush of demand. I know what the demand is and I know what the VEC is staffed to do. It is going to be very important for us to know how the timelines are and how long is it taking for us to get you the aid you need. The idea is for the loan to be converted into a grant. Only being a few days into the program, we are going to watch and most statewide. Examples: 1) can’t let anti-science messages respond to the response to pandemic! Whitehouse had cut all public health agencies. We can’t deny science and can’t go it on the cheap. 2) telecom is so important. K-12 are delivering education online. tele-health online… we are going to learn a lot on the value of high-quality of telecom and the digital divide. 3) we don’t manufacture weapons overseas for security reasons… we need to rethink medical supply chain… and think of this as a medical and weapon national security imperative.
Q:Loans that may or may not be forgiven, what sense of urgency do you have for the commonwealth
A; sense of urgency you have is for the budget. you budget shows your priorities. That is why in the negotiation for the small businesses, if you keep payroll in tact, the loans would be kept in tact and then ultimately forgiven. Size of the investment and the passion to do it right is not the same as administration and if there are not glitches. in future legislation, do they need to do more? Certainly on the 4th package they are likely to tackle, in any of the five pillars, do they need to devote more to anything?
Q:Do we need to be on a tighter lock down to flatten the curve more?
A: This is tricky. The governors and mayors are setting this on their own… think of the restrictions early on. Meeting with federal officials, they empower governors to make these decisions. What governors want is strong national guidance… Federal guidance is now clear. Isolate as much as possible. Different people – individuals are applying this message differently. People are behaving in a responsible way. I have been happy with the business owners. Governor Northam dramatically upped the pressure to comply.
Q: What should we do of weighing option when unemployment may give more money to the employee.
A: This is a hard question. PPP would be best option first. We were in a tight labor market. it has been hard to find good people, and when you have good people, it may be hard to reassemble the team. If you can get PPP to keep your team in place. Talent is the most important and valuable commodity. Keep your team in place, so they can work in the synergistic team in place moving forward. GIG workers, self employed and may be the right answer for those who if you can make one or the other work- everyone will get their best advice from the people who know their circumstance.
Q: How do people in the arts deal with no income now?
A:PPP 501c3s are eligible. people in the arts the financial – philanthropically, people are focused on the health crisis.
Take the steps needed to stay strong. one glitch is that the SBA is not extended to 501c6 organizations. – trade organizations.
Q: How is gender pay gap going to work in the aftermath of covid going to be looked at?
A:in the covid-3 bill- a block of funds went to child care, especially for healthcare workers, etc. one of the steps was to look at childcare and pay equity issues. He is a strong pay equity advocate. Childcare, schools delivering course content online. 4th bill will be immediate and short to middle term. World will be different. Traditional workers usually won’t fit into unemployment, but this covid3 bill will fit into the bill and how the American workforce will be reviewed.
Q: How will people pay extended taxes if they aren’t open for business now and won’t be by 6/10?
A:Depending on the length of non-essential business- when we re-open, we made an adjustment, will there be a need for an additional adjustment? Some of this, the administration will put on a to-do list discussion for this and will be on the radar.
Q: What can be done to include the 501c6 organizations?
A: It was late in the discussions, when they realized that there was a protection for c3s, and not c6s. They weren’t able to get it worked it. It is on the list of things to work on. He thinks it makes sense.
Q: What is the FED doing to help localities to help with budget losses
A: the 4th pillar has block grant money for lost expenses. important criteria is that this is for unanticipated scenarios, not for shortfalls.
Q: How and when does forgiveness of PPP happen?
A: Your lender should be able to tell you. You want to know what the terms are- make sure you speak with your lender- from whom you make an application with. The core is that if you keep your payroll in tact, it is forgivable.