Trump to See Why SBA Excludes Small Casinos from COVID-19 Loan Program
Posted on: April 9, 2020, 1:11 a.m.
Last update on: April 9, 2020, 10:30 a.m.
President Donald Trump told reporters on Wednesday he would examine the issues with small casinos ineligible for federal small business loans that were included in the recent COVID-19 relief plan.
The remarks by the president, a former casino owner himself, come a week after the Small Business Administration (SBA) established guidelines for the $ 349 billion Paycheque Protection Program (P3), which allows small businesses with 500 or fewer employees to receive a loan of up to $ 10 million.
The principal of the loan would be forfeited if 75% were used to pay employees while businesses shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The remaining funds could also be used to pay utility bills and other business costs.
When the SBA established its criteria, it used guidelines nearly 25 years old to determine eligibility. These rules exclude companies that derive more than a third of their revenue from gaming.
Trump was specifically asked about small casinos in Nevada. But the problem is widespread across the country. He said on Wednesday that he had not been made aware of the problem.
” I will watch it. It is a great state ”, Trump said about the Silver State. “They are doing a great job, so I’m going to think about it very carefully. I understand what they mean.
Prior to Wednesday, Trump had touted PPP loans as a way to help small businesses stay afloat and put themselves in a better position for growth once the COVID-19 outbreak subsides. He also called on Congress to allocate more funds to the first-come, first-served program in the next relief / stimulus bill they are considering.
AGM CEO Miller calls for Trump involvement
The president’s remarks were made on the same day as American Games Association President and CEO Bill Miller urged Trump to get involved and fight what he called a “discriminatory policy” against small gaming companies.
Without the loans, these companies would be forced to lay off workers during the extended shutdown instead of keeping them on board.
If not, those made redundant will be pushed into UI and Medicaid, ”Miller wrote. “Not only are workers better off when they stay connected to their employer, this approach has long-term benefits for our economy. The dislocation costs associated with widespread unemployment are severe. Keeping employees on the payroll avoids rehiring complications, saves on future training costs, and increases productivity, which is essential for a faster economic recovery.
After hearing Trump’s comments early Wednesday night, Miller took to Twitter to thank the president for his “leadership and commitment” to helping small game companies in 43 states access funding.
Nevada bars and restaurants affected by SBA decision
Miller also shared several letters that members of Congress representing gaming interests have sent to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza and other members of Trump’s cabinet since lawmakers passed the CARES Act, the $ 2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief package which included the PPP loan initiative last month.
This included a letter that U.S. Representative Susie Lee (D-Nevada) wrote to Carranza and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday.
In the letter, Lee, who represents the tip of Nevada south of Las Vegas, said video poker machines are a necessity for most independent bars and restaurants in his neighborhood. These businesses, like major casinos and other entertainment attractions, have been forced to close.
“For the SBA, taking the position that these small businesses are ineligible for necessary assistance due to their involvement in the gaming industry belies the economic realities of their location and will doom countless small businesses out of business.” , she wrote.