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Dems Push For Bailout Of Revenue-Starved Small Businesses

By Stephen Cooper · April 24, 2020, 8:18 PM EDT

Small businesses suffering from the economic downturn caused by the novel coronavirus need a cash infusion from the government to help pay workers salaries or offset the cost of reopening, Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said Friday.

Wyden said cash-starved small business owners with up to $1 million in gross receipts and no more than 50 employees would be helped by his Save America's Main Street Act, or S. 3549, which he hopes to include in the next coronavirus relief bill that Congress considers.

The legislation would provide companies with an IRS rebate check of up to $75,000, roughly equal to 30% of the gross receipts reported in a previous year. It would also provide businesses with a 50% employee retention payroll tax credit for wages paid while businesses are closed due to government-imposed measures.

The legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., a member of the Finance Committee, would allow companies that record a 25% drop in year-over-year gross receipts to receive the payroll tax credit. All 2020 estimated payments for small business owners would be delayed until September and reduced from 100% to 75% of the previous year's liability.

Big businesses have been able to access federal programs and get the resources they need, so "there ought to be a place at the table for small businesses to get a small amount of help," Wyden said at a press briefing by phone on Friday.

"This is the kind of boost that will get them through the next several months as we deal with the fact that this contagion has rippled through the country and hit small businesses like a wrecking ball." he said.

Speaking at the briefing, Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., said she planned to introduce a House version of the legislation. The measure would help small businesses like Ice Concepts Inc. of Hatfield, Pennsylvania, a local business in her congressional district that did not fully benefit from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act , or CARES Act, which became law in March.

Kevin Gregory, a founder of Ice Concepts who also spoke during the briefing, said his business faced an uncertain future due to the economic downturn caused by the virus. He said orders have dried up through the remainder of 2020 and the business may not reopen without help from Washington.

--Editing by Robert Rudinger.

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