Congressman Pete Aguilar Speaks about Help for Small Businesses

Congressman Pete Aguilar Speaks about Help for Small Businesses

San Bernardino

In an exclusive interview with the IE Voice/Black Voice News, U.S. Representative Pete Aguilar recently spoke Saturday about new options for the area’s small businesses, many struggling to survive during this unprecedented health crisis. 

Aguilar highlighted opportunities for small business owners to consider as detailed in the latest version of economic stimulus legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by the president on Friday, March 27, 2020. 

The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program or “Paycheck Protection” is a forgivable loan program for small businesses. Any business can apply for this loan, and provided it retains its employees, the loan can ultimately be forgiven. 

This option is good news for small news publications who have remained under economic distress since the Great Recession; and will experience further challenges when they come under the mandates of AB5—they were granted a one year exemption for their contract carriers and distributors which expires in January 2021).

AB5 codified the decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Super. Ct., (2018) 4 Cal. 5th 903. AB5 calls for the “ABC test” to determine whether a worker is properly classified as an employee or independent contractor. For many of these small publishers, there are growing concerns about the economic impact “direct and overhead costs” will have on their operations when the contractors are transitioned to employees—for many of them, it may be too prohibitive.

With the Great Recession haunting their past and AB 5 shadowing their future, the current revenue stream of these small publishers/owners is now impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic. As such, the Economic Disaster loans are needed to help them remain economically viable through this crisis.

Aguilar discussed how the federal government is moving fast to get money to small business owners. He provided an example of a print shop owner who was approved for a $25,000 loan within 72 hours. He added how time is of the essence and encouraged businesses to apply right away. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program can provide small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million. For more information visit  https://www.sba.gov/coronavirus. This week the Congressman will host a Facebook Live event to speak about business issues.  Aguilar also spoke about the stimulus bill’s option for unemployment. The opportunity to file for unemployment is open to those who are employed by someone else as well as the self-employed and individuals participating in the gig economy workforce. 

California pays $450 a week and the federal stimulus bill will add an additional $600 per week for total weekly compensation of $1050. It is important to note individuals can qualify for unemployment even if they are still working but their hours are cut. For example, an individual who used to work 40 hours per week but due to the coronavirus is now only working 8 hours per week can submit an unemployment claim. 

Unemployment claims can be filed online. For more information about how to file visit the state’s Employment Development Department (EDD) at http://www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment/filing_a_claim.htm.

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