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 the Vice President, Government and External Affairs, PRINTING United Alliance, having joined Printing Industries in March 2005 as Director of Legislative Affairs. In this position, she is responsible for providing direct advocacy before Congress and the Administration on key industry legislative initiatives, as well as for the strategic direction of the organization's grassroots and external outreach activities. She serves as Treasurer of PrintPAC, the only industry political action committee dedicated solely to electing pro-print lawmakers.
Previously, Lisbeth was Director, Government Affairs at the United States Telecom Association (USTA), representing telecommunications companies ranging from the nation's largest Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) to small, rural telephone companies. Lisbeth also served as Director of Grassroots & Legislative Services at the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation's largest small business advocacy organization.
Lisbeth is a candidate for an M.A. in Political Management at The George Washington University and holds a B.A. from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. Prior to working in Washington, D.C., Lisbeth was a teacher with Chicago Public Schools.