BCS Chamber: Federal stimulus bill gives our mom-and-pops the flexibility they need

Published: Mar. 26, 2020 at 5:13 PM CDT
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For days, the Bryan/College Station Chamber of Commerce has been working around the clock to support local businesses struggling during the COVID-19 crisis.

Now, president and CEO Glen Brewer is getting some backup from the federal government.

“What we’ve found is there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this,” said Brewer on First News at Four.

That’s why he appreciates the flexibility of the $2 trillion stimulus package set to pass the House of Representatives Friday and be signed by Pres. Donald Trump shortly thereafter.

“The money has to be used in such a way to keep your business open, but it does give them the freedom to use it in the specific area that they need help with,” said Brewer. “We know that public safety is number one, but number two, we want to make sure we have healthy businesses as we come out of this so people have jobs to go back to.”

Interest-free loans will be offered to businesses, and if used in certain ways, those loans will be converted into grants. The loans don’t have to be paid back if used for covering employee salaries, rent, paid leave, utility payments, health insurance premiums or other necessities or worker protections. Also, loans given to businesses with tipped employees (such as restaurants and bars) could be forgiven if the money is used to provide additional wages.

As for the tax implications of this legislation, Brewer says that’s a conversation for later down the line.

“I think probably the most important focus on this is the immediate effect,” said Brewer. “This is just the first stimulus that they're going to have. We think they're probably going to have another short-term stimulus. Any way of even trying to come up with a long-term solution seems a little premature when we don't even know what the end of it is. So we're not worried so much about those tax changes.”

For the full conversation, see the video player above.

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