Chamber News

May 29, 2020 Likes Comments

Well that was a long short week!

Could a fix finally be on the way from some of the Paycheck Protection Program’s most arduous restrictions?

 
The House voted 417-1 yesterday to pass legislation that would make urgently needed changes to the program which was created to help small businesses and nonprofits but has been widely criticized for being too restrictive.
 
This new bill extends the time in which businesses must use the funds from eight weeks to 24 weeks. It also amends the 75/25 rule for how much businesses must spend on payroll versus non-payroll costs in order to get full forgiveness to 60/40.
 
And it pushes back the deadline to rehire workers from June 30 to Dec. 31, while allowing businesses that receive loan forgiveness to defer payroll taxes.
 
Now comes the tricky part. The Senate also has its own PPP extension bill, that would increase the time frame from eight to 16 weeks and allow businesses to use funds to purchase protective equipment for employees, among other amendments. Senators failed to pass the bill before adjourning for a recess this week, but will return next week.
 
How one bank managed the PPP onslaught
 
Remember a few weeks back when small business owners were desperately trying to find a bank to process their PPP applications?
 
Over and over, chamber members reported that our local and regional banks were often most responsive to them while the nation’s largest banks were the least helpful of all. (Bank of America experienced another problem too.)
 
Why was that? As Globe columnist Shirley Leung wrote at the time, the local guys seemed to care more and were willing to work harder.
 
Here’s an example: When Needham Bank President and CEO Joe Campanelli realized the demand for the loans was going to outstrip his team’s capacity he turned to Babson College, his alma mater, and asked for help.
 
“We knew that we would receive more loan requests than we could handle with current resources. Instead of turning people away, we reached out to Babson to get interns in place to help with various parts of the process,” Campanelli said.
Babson’s Centers for Career Development folks quickly reached out and notified students about this opportunity. Over one weekend they recruited 16 interns who spent the next five weeks helping process loans.
 
CARES act can help donors help nonprofits
Cancelling the Boston Marathon is a tough blow for all the local nonprofits who use that race to raise money. Here's some better news:
 
As Bloom Shapiro reminds us in this blogpost, the CARES Act (the same law that gave us the PPP) also includes features that can help donors looking to help nonprofits.

This includes an above-the-line deduction of up to $300 of charitable contributions, including from individuals who do not itemize. Providing a much greater potential benefit, the law also allows individual donors to deduct qualified cash donations of up to 100 percent of their AGI, instead of the previous 60 percent. This increased deduction is an excellent opportunity for donors to reduce their 2020 tax bill, while providing a great benefit to charitable organizations.
 
The CARES Act also allows for deduction of up to 25 percent of the corporation’s 2020 taxable income, up from 10 percent.
 
Also, in case you missed this yesterday: If you’re a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, check out this website listing a wide array of grant and loan funding opportunities.
 
Double whammy: Rent and property taxes due Monday
 
Back in early April, the governor signed into law a bill allowing municipalities to delay payments of Fiscal Year 2020 real estate and personal property tax bills (that were we due April 1) to no later than June 1.

The move was certainly helpful at the time. Now, of course, June 1 is Monday, which means its time to make those payments; placing a further burden on landlords who may have tenants struggling to pay rent (also due Monday).
 
Help for those left out in Baker’s ‘four phases’
 
Repeating this in case you missed it: Are you having a hard time finding your business or nonprofit on the list showing which business can open when under Gov. Charlie Baker’s four phase reopening plan?
 
Or, do you have a specific question about how the available guidance applies to your work place?
 
The state has set up a portal just for those kinds of questions: Submit you inquiry here. Officials promise that every comment will be reviewed and compiled, but only questions will receive a response.
 
Finally, two new faces in Needham
 
Needham has hired Katie King as the new Assistant Town Manager/Director of Operations. King most recently worked for Boston, where she served as Mayor Marty Walsh’s Director of Intergovernmental Relations and former Mayor Thomas Menino’s Director of State Relations. Before that she held various policy and advocacy roles with the American Cancer Society, US Department of Health and Human Services and American Lung Association of the Northeast. King starts work Monday.
 
And Kyle I. Grimes has been appointed to the new president and GM at WCVB-TV (Channel 5). Grimes comes from the NBC affiliate serving the Lancaster-Harrisburg-Lebanon- York, Pennsylvania and succeeds Bill Fine, who announced his plans to retire earlier this month.
 
“I have closely followed Kyle since he became general manager at the same station where I started my broadcasting career,” Fine said. “It is clear to me that he brings the necessary qualities to lead this great television station. I look forward to working with Kyle over the next few months as I transition from general manager to loyal viewer and alum.”
 
Take good care this weekend.
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
617-244-1688
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