2020 Year-End COVID Relief Legislation: Targeted Relief for Print Verticals
In the waning days of 2020 (Sunday, December 27, to be exact), President Trump signed HR 133, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, a combination COVID-19 stimulus/relief and omnibus government funding bill passed by the House and Senate on December 21, 2020. The Act provides approximately $900 billion to bolster the U.S. economy amid the continued spread of COVID-19 and includes targeted economic relief for specific print verticals that have been especially hard-hit during the coronavirus pandemic. A select summary of this targeted print customer relief is below.
Entertainment: The Act establishes a $15 billion grant program to support shuttered live venues, theaters, museums, and zoos that have experienced significant revenue losses.
Food Service: The Act defines eligibility for new or second draw Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans as small businesses that have no more than 300 employees and demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross revenues between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020. It establishes a maximum loan size of 2.5 times average monthly payroll costs, up to $2 million. In an effort to provide additional support to restaurants, bars and clubs that have faced state and local shutdowns or service restrictions, the Act allows small businesses assigned to the industry NAICS code 72 (Accommodation and Food Services) to receive PPP second draw loans equal to 3.5 times average monthly payroll costs.
Non-Profits/Religious & Church Affiliated Organizations: The Act expanded PPP eligibility to include 501(c)6 non-profits with 300 or fewer employees that do not receive more than 15% of their revenue from lobbying. It also affirms the PPP eligibility of churches and religious organizations and prohibits a future administration from making them ineligible. The legislation preserves the application of affiliation rules to nonprofits, which makes certain organizations (i.e., Planned Parenthood) ineligible for PPP. Local Chambers of Commerce are also made eligible for PPP loans provided they meet the general small business requirements. Non-profits that rely on direct mail for fundraising drives will benefit indirectly from the Act’s conversion of a $10 million federal loan offered to US Postal Service in the previous coronavirus bill (CARES Act) to a forgivable loan (in essence, direct cash assistance) provided it is used for operational and/or expenses tied to the pandemic. By not saddling USPS with additional debt, there is less “pile on” that could exacerbate rising postal rates.
Publishing/Communications: The Act expands PPP eligibility to local newspapers and to T.V. and radio stations that were previously made ineligible by their affiliation with other stations. The eligibility parameters for these entities are the same as the general small business requirements noted above.
Transportation: The Act would provide $2 billion in grants from the Department of the Treasury for passenger transportation services, including the bus, motor coach, and passenger vessel industry that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This provision was based on previously introduced stand-alone legislation that had over 60 bipartisan cosponsors in the Senate.
Travel/Hospitality: The Act makes eligible Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) for PPP loans; these entities were previously left out of this stimulus program. DMOs (i.e., “Visit Philadelphia”) are charged with promoting travel and tourism to specific geographic locations, which in turn drives the convention and expo business travel – an important market for the wide-format print and promotional merchandising segments.
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Lisbeth Lyons is Vice President, Government & Political Affairs, PRINTING United Alliance, the largest, most comprehensive graphic arts trade association in the country. With more than 20 years of experience representing the voice of business on Capitol Hill, Lisbeth advocates for public policies that protect and advance the economic future of the printing and packaging industry. She oversees PRINTING United Alliance’s legislative, political, and grassroots advocacy initiatives, and has served in executive leadership of multiple successful advocacy campaigns, such as Coalition for Paper Options, Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service, and Stop Tariffs on Printers & Publishers Coalition.
Prior to representing PRINTING United Alliance, Lisbeth served in similar roles at Printing Industries of America, US Telecom, and the National Federation of Independent Business. She also spent three years as a K-12 teacher in the Chicago Public Schools system, where she was on the forefront of urban education reform in the mid-1990s.
Lisbeth is Midwestern born and bred, having grown up in the St. Louis metropolitan area and attended college at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, before starting her career in Washington, DC. She holds a B.A. in English/Sociology and a professional graduate certificate from The George Washington University School of Political Management. She lives in the historic Logan Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC.
An avid leader and learner in professional development, Lisbeth was a founding member of the Government Relations Leadership Forum, and is an active participant in organizations such as Council of Manufacturing Associations, Women in Government Relations, and National Association of Business PACs, among others. Lisbeth is often a featured speaker at premier industry conferences; she has spoken to Boards of Directors, corporate executive management teams, and state and regional trade associations across the country from coast to coast.