ISSA Comments on Passage of the COVID-19 Relief

December 22, 2020 ISSA Comments on Passage of the COVID-19 Relief

On December 21, Congress and the White House agreed on a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package. This article focuses on the issues most impactful to ISSA members and the industry.

John Nothdurft, Director of Government Affairs for ISSA said, “In total, the relief package is an important lifeline to struggling businesses and positive step in the right direction. The absence of a healthy workplace tax credit, a bipartisan supported commonsense proposal is disappointing. ISSA plans to work with the new Congress on this and other critically important issues 2021. Thank you to the nearly 1,000 advocates for clean that emailed, called, and tweeted their federal elected officials more than 5,000 times in the last few months”.

Some of the highlights from the bill include:

Small Business Relief

  • Giving eligible small businesses a second draw of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Defines eligibility as small businesses that have no more than 300 employees and demonstrate at least a 25 percent reduction in gross revenues between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.
  • Additional expenses have been added to those that qualify for PPP loan forgiveness such as “the acquisition of services, equipment, including personal protective equipment, and other measures needed to protect workers and customers from COVID–19”. This was a top priority for ISSA.
  • Establishes a maximum loan size of 2.5-times average monthly payroll costs, up to $2 million.
  • Full deductibility of expenses paid with a PPP loan.
  • The employee retention tax credit (ERTC) is increased and extended into 2021;
  • A company can take both the PPP loan and claim the ERTC provided the funds are not used for the same purpose.
  • Expands eligibility of PPP to 501(c)(6) and Destination Marketing Organizations.
  • Establishes a $15 billion grant program to support shuttered live venues, theaters, museums, and zoos that have experienced significant revenue losses.
  • Rolls over a variety of temporary tax breaks known as “extenders” such as the Worker Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC).
  • The package also extends a payroll tax subsidy for employers offering workers paid sick leave and boosts the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Individual benefits

  • Direct payments in the amount of $600 per taxpayer ($1,200 for married filing jointly), in addition to $600 per qualifying child. The credit phases out starting at $75,000 of modified adjusted gross income ($112,500 for heads of household and $150,000 for married filing jointly)
  • Unemployment benefits: Lawmakers agreed to extend enhanced unemployment benefits for jobless workers, who will receive up to $300 per week through mid-March. Self-employed people and gig workers will also receive extended assistance.
  • Rental assistance: The measure includes $25 billion to help families pay their rent, and it extends the eviction moratorium now in effect until Jan. 31.

Other Items of Note

  • $82 billion total for colleges and universities, $4 billion for a governors’ relief fund, $54 billion for public K-12 schools, and $23 billion for a higher education fund. The childcare sector will also receive $10 billion in emergency funding.
  • $45 billion in transportation aid, including $15 billion to airlines, $14 billion for mass transit, $10 billion for state highways, $2 billion for airports and $1 billion for Amtrak.
  • The package includes $20 billion for the purchase of vaccines, nearly $9 billion for vaccine distribution, and $22 billion to help states with testing, tracing and Covid-19 mitigation programs.

The new legislation gives the Small Business Administration (SBA) 10 days from enactment to write rules for the new small business provisions. There was significant confusion over aspects of the CARES Act earlier this year, which left many employers confused. ISSA will continue to monitor and report on any new federal agency developments.

In addition to the continuing to push for a health workplace tax credit, ISSA will also be advocating for limited liability protection, COVID-19 related tariff relief, and a reasonable federal temporary emergency standard for COVID-19 from Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

To read a full summary of the relief package, click here and for the full bill here.

ISSA is working diligently to support the full spectrum of the cleaning industry, in the U.S. and worldwide, during the COVID-19 pandemic, including providing a variety of government affairs resources. Please consider supporting the ISSA Advocacy Fund in any amount to help us continue to spearhead support for a healthy workplace tax credit in the next federal stimulus package. For questions regarding ISSA advocacy, including liability protection legislation, please contact John Nothdurft, ISSA Director of Government Affairs.