RALEIGH – Leaders at the National Federation of Independent Business are calling for more legislative action in North Carolina and in Congress to help small businesses as the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic deepens.

“NFIB is urging the General Assembly to set aside additional dollars for bridge loans to business owners until they receive funding from the federal PPPL and EIDL programs,” NFIB State Direction Gregg Thompson said in a statement Friday. PPP refers to the Paycheck Protection Plan and Economic Injury Disaster Loan programs.

“We’re also encouraging everyone to contact their members of Congress and urge them to set partisan politics aside and move quickly to approve additional funding for small business loans.”

The $349 billion funding for the PPP was exhausted earlier this week. Some 24,000 NC businesses received loans averaging $244,000 for some $5.7 billion based on figures through April 13.

The North Carolina Bankers Association also has called for more funding and for Congress to speed up approval of a package that would include an additional $250 billion for PPP loans as administered through the US Small Business Association.

Brad Close, president of the business advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., issued what the group called a “Legislative Plan for Small Business Survival.”

“Small businesses, which account for half of the American economy and nearly half of all jobs, are fighting for their survival every day that this crisis continues,” Close said. “Efforts by the Administration and Congress, while well-intentioned, have been met with significant challenges to this point.”

The plan includes 10 points:

1. Extend Paycheck Protection Program and Make Sure the Smallest Employers Get Help.
2. Increase flexibility for forgivable loan terms in the Paycheck Protection Program.
3. Prohibit Discrimination Against Small Employers in the Paycheck Protection Program.
4. End the Costly COVID-19 Mandates on Small Businesses for Paid Sick Leave and Extended Family and Medical Leave on May 31, 2020.
5. Fully Fund the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program and Improve the Related Grant Program.
6. Recognize the Limits to the Ability of Small Businesses to Learn of and Comply with Laws and Regulations.
7. Tapered Transition Out of Programs After COVID-19 No Longer Represents a Significant Threat to Public Health.
8. Narrowly-tailor Any New Requirements Related to the Reopening to Account for the Realities of Different Industries and Business Sizes.
9. Require Each Agency to Conduct a Regulatory Look-Back Review.
10. Statement of Policy from Congress on the Future of Small Businesses.

The plan can be read online at this site.

The executive summary and full plan can be found here and here.

Head of NC Bankers calls for quick boost COVID-19 loans as $349B fund runs out