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Payroll Protection Program

September 25, 2020 - 5:11pm
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news, Payroll Protection Program.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) delivered a speech on the House Floor yesterday advocating for H.R. 8265, which if passed would allow the hardest-hit small businesses to apply for a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans. Currently, there is more than $130 billion in funding available that just needs to be released.

Transcript of Rep. Jacobs floor remarks:

“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, of the many excellent provisions in the CARES Act, which was passed by this body, undoubtedly one of the most successful was the PPP, the Paycheck Protection Program - which literally helped thousands of small businesses and over 50 million jobs be saved during the COVID-19 pandemic. The PPP was also successful because it partnered with the private sector, utilizing local banks to disperse the PPP loans. Already the banks had relationships with the small businesses in their communities.

"These existing relationships between banks and small businesses were invaluable in getting these funds out on to the street in record speed. Again, saving thousands of businesses and millions of jobs. In my district alone, PPP saved over 50,000 jobs. It is due to the success of the PPP and the significant need for additional PPP funds for small businesses around the nation that I rise in support of H.R. 8265, sponsored by Representative Chabot. This is a commonsense piece of legislation, there is approximately $130 billion in unspent PPP funds.

"This bill simply enables the small business administration to do another round of PPP awards. There is still incredible demand and need for this program. So, this is not an allocation of additional money. As both sides debate a much larger and more complicated new stimulus package, I think this bill is a great first step. It is a program that has shown itself to be incredibly effective in saving jobs and small businesses.

"There is most definitely more demand for PPP loans from small businesses and local nonprofits. The model of awarding the funds has shown itself to be excellent. Finally, it doesn't require an additional appropriation. Mr. Speaker, our small businesses are fighting for their survival and millions of jobs hang in the balance. We can do this. This money is there, and the program works. Thank you. I yield back.”

September 11, 2020 - 10:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Payroll Protection Program, news, business, NY-27, Chris Jacobs.

Statement from Rep. Chris Jacobs:

“The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has preserved roughly 12 million rural jobs during the pandemic and I support the $150,000 threshold for automatic forgiveness of a PPP loan included in the Senate GOP bill considered yesterday. Unfortunately, every Senate Democrat voted against advancing this critical legislation. Small businesses, workers, and families are facing a major uphill battle as we rebuild our economy, and Congress must act to provide critical relief. I urge the Democrats to stop playing games with American’s livelihoods and work with Republicans and the White House to advance something more than a partisan wish list.”

NOTE: The vast majority of $659 billion Paycheck Protection Program loans, 85 percent, were for $150,000 or less. These are very small businesses and independent contractors. These loans accounted for only 26 percent of the loans approved by the SBA. About 15 percent of the borrowers received 74 percent of the funds. Currently, these small businesses must complete a loan forgiveness form and provide documentation on how the money was distributed (payroll, rent, and utilities are the primary expenses eligible for forgiveness). With automatic forgiveness, these small businesses would need only submit a signed document stating that the funds were used within the guidelines of the program.

July 13, 2020 - 3:21pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, WROTB, Payroll Protection Program.

Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties have lost a combined $220,246 in revenue during the three-and-a-half month period that operations of the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation have been curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WROTB Comptroller Jacquelyne Leach provided estimated totals today after she and WROTB President and Chief Executive Office Henry Wojtaszek sat down for an interview with The Batavian.

Broken down by county through June 30:

-- Genesee County has lost $59,090 from operations and $4,013 in surcharges for a total of $63,103;
-- Livingston, $62,643, $5,232, $67,875;
-- Orleans, $42,760, $2,627, $45,387;
-- Wyoming, $40,640, $3,241, $43,881.

Livingston County’s has lost the most, Leach said, due to its larger population base.

Leach said that “bottom line” losses since having to close on March 16 are $2.8 million -- $2.5 in revenue and another $300,000 in surcharges that would have been distributed to the public benefit company’s 15 counties, City of Rochester and City of Buffalo.

She estimated a loss of $24 million in revenue since mid-March, funds that would have been generated from patrons at Batavia Downs Gaming, 19 OTB betting parlors and 30 betting kiosks in restaurants and bars.

Leach: Revenues Were Way Up

“Before this hit us, we were doing great … in fact, we showed a million dollar increase (in revenues) in February of this year compared to February 2019,” Leach said.

The distribution estimates support WROTB’s increased activity when compared to the total amounts given to the four GLOW counties for all of 2019: Genesee County, $83,483; Livingston County, $89,637; Orleans County, $60,923; Wyoming County, $57,612.

While WROTB officials are unable to oversee distribution of funds not received, they have taken steps to compensate their 450 employees, Wojtaszek said.

“We were able to get a $3.152 million loan through the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which covered eight weeks of payroll and related benefits (such as insurance, workers’ compensation and unemployment),” he said.

Wojtaszek indicated that 90 percent of the loan from the Bank of Castile was used for employee wages and benefits – “a much higher percentage than the required 60 percent,” he said – and 10 percent went to cover utilities.

The PPP money was applied from May 10 through July 4, Leach said, and also included a two-week period from April 17 through May 2 when employees were furloughed.

PPP Loan May End Up as a Grant

Both Leach and Wojtaszek said they expect the PPP loan to be completely or near completely “a forgivable loan.”

“With accurate accounting of the loan and how it was used, we think it will be forgivable when audited by the SBA (Small Business Administration) and the bank,” Wojtaszek said. “If not all of it, maybe just 1 percent that would have to be paid back over a two-year period.”

Initially, the SBA did not include legal gaming businesses in the PPP, but on April 24, it issued an Interim Final Rule stating that they would be eligible, stating “a business that is otherwise eligible for a PPP Loan is not rendered ineligible due to its receipt of legal gaming revenues … and believes this approach is more consistent with the policy aim of making PPP loans available to a broad segment of U.S. businesses.”

Published reports have criticized WROTB for taking the PPP loan, which was tweaked to support both small and large enterprises. In WROTB's case, the loan also covered the stipends provided to members of its board of directors.

“Our employees are more important than any criticism we may have received,” Wojtaszek said. “Plus, we had the legal opinion.”

300 Employees Out on Furlough

Starting on July 10, about 300 of the WROTB workforce went on furlough again. Wojtaszek said employees will be eligible for unemployment insurance and they will continue to receive health insurance coverage. During the July 4th week, compensation was paid out of corporation funds, Leach said.

Leach said it was a matter of taking care of the company’s “most valuable asset.”

“We wanted to take care of our employees during this most stressful time, with their health benefits intact,” she said. “They are our most valuable asset.”

Wojtaszek said the corporation is prepared to extend the furlough (meaning that employees’ jobs are safe) for up to a couple months, but is hoping that Gov. Andrew Cuomo allows the casino to reopen in the near future.

MERV-13 Filters on Order

The OTB parlors have reopened and live harness horse racing at Batavia Downs is scheduled to begin a 43-date schedule on July 25. Including administrative, maintenance, security and custodial employees, about 150 employees are currently on the job.

Both Leach and Wojtaszek said the corporation is being proactive as it prepares to welcome guests back.

“We have ordered advanced (air) filtration systems – the MERV-13 filters that go above and beyond – and expect them to be installed by the end of this week,” Wojtaszek said.

He said that other health-related measures include noninvasive temperature checks, social distancing on the gaming floor, extra cleaning and face coverings for staff and patrons.

“That (a clean facility) has been our mantra from the get-go; we’ve had that going for us for years,” Leach said.

Insurance Premiums at $1 Million

Wojtaszek also reported that the corporation’s annual premium for its complete package of insurances will increase by $270,000 to $1 million for the period of June 1, 2020 through May 31, 2021.

“It’s been a tough year for the insurance industry,” he said. “The biggest factor was that Philadelphia Insurance decided not to insure casinos anymore,” he said, noting that the policy now is with Travelers. “We didn’t have any large claims.”

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Disclosure, July 14, 12:05 p.m. -- The Batavian wishes to clarify that Batavia Downs is a sponsor of the Genesee Region USBC bowling association, of which the reporter, Mike Pettinella, is the association manager. This was brought to our attention by a reader and, while it never entered the reporter's thought process while pursuing this story, we acknowledge that this information should be disclosed.

May 8, 2020 - 11:03am

Press release:

Billions of dollars in potentially forgivable Payroll Protection Program (PPP) capital remains available to small businesses and nonprofits to help provide eight weeks of payroll and certain overhead to keep workers employed.

PPP, created out by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, is responsible for infusing billions of dollars of capital into small businesses nationwide and saving jobs.

The second round, which kicked off April 27, has awarded 2,378,057 loans worth $181,158,888,644 as of close of business on Tuesday, May 5.

More than 900K of those loans, worth $57,296,660,188, were issued by small lenders.

The average PPP loan size is currently $76,000, a $130,000 reduction from the round one size, showing the dollars are further assisting mom & pops. SBA forgives the portion of Paycheck Protection loan proceeds used to cover the first eight weeks of payroll costs, rent, utilities, and mortgage interest.

Loan payments may be deferred for one year, and is retroactive from Feb. 15, so employers can rehire their recently laid-off employees through June 30.

“The Paycheck Protection Program is working. Small businesses are keeping their employees on payroll and earning salary,” said SBA Atlantic Regional Administrator Steve Bulger, who oversees the federal agency’s operations in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“For this federal program to work for you and your employees, I encourage you to submit an application through a PPP-participating bank, credit union, CDFI or online lender.”

Approved Lenders can be found using the SBA Lender Locater at www.sba.gov/ppp.

“Upstate New York small businesses have a lifeline in the Paycheck Protection Program," added SBA Syracuse District Director Bernard J. Paprocki. "The funds loaned from your bank or lender will help pay your team’s salaries for eight weeks and keep your venture intact and well-positioned to not only survive but succeed."

The SBA Syracuse District Office serves 34 Upstate New York Counties from the Hudson Valley and Capital Region to the Mohawk Valley, North Country, Finger Lakes and Southern Tier.

Loan forgiveness is based on the borrower maintaining or quickly rehiring employees while maintaining salaries and hours. PPP loans have a maturity of two years and an interest rate of 1 percent.

A copy of the PPP borrower application form with all information the federal government requires a small business to provide can be found here

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