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Stimulus bill could bring much needed help to midstate businesses

Midstate businesses could have a lot to gain from the Senate’s proposed $2 trillion stimulus bill if it becomes a law in the coming weeks.

Businesses across the country are waiting for the United States Senate to vote on a bill that would provide billions of dollars to both small and large operations— an opportunity that David Black, CEO of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and CREDC, said could be a huge step to cover losses for area businesses impacted by statewide closures.

The spread of coronavirus and Gov. Tom Wolf’s closure of businesses deemed non-essential has already dealt a blow to area businesses, including the region’s large tourism industry, he said.

“Cash flow has stopped—it’s just not going,” said Black, noting that the Senate’s bill could be the help businesses need. “The purpose of the business loan component of this is to try and soften that blow, perhaps replace it with a loan but we haven’t seen the language.”

The stimulus is an unprecedented amount of money but it will be difficult to understand how many businesses will receive funds through the bill until the government begins the process, said Black.

Currently the plan is to provide $350 billion in loans for small businesses with less than 500 employees and $500 billion in loans for distressed companies, among other efforts including $1,200 in checks sent to eligible American households.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced that it would be offering disaster loans to small businesses throughout the country.

Black warned that the process to receive the SBA’s loans online has proven difficult with so many companies trying to use the online portal at once and that when applications open for the $2 trillion stimulus, there may be long waiting times.

“You just have to stick with it, you might have to do it in the middle of the night,” he said. “We know the electronic portals will be slow and backed up. It’s just a matter of timing.”

The Harrisburg Regional Chamber and Capital Region Economic Development Corp. supports member businesses and offers economic and businesses development to companies in the Harrisburg and Hershey regions.

Ioannis Pashakis
Ioannis Pashakis is the Central Penn Business Journal's assistant editor. Email him at [email protected].

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