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New programs provide lifelines for small businesses

Small businesses are the backbone of Ohio’s economy, and during this time of crisis many small business owners are feeling the strain of social distancing with many Ohioans having found themselves either sick, out of work, or taking care of a loved one. In this difficult time, it is crucial that small businesses are able to to keep their doors open and maintain payroll as much as possible.

With small businesses stepping up to help their communities, President Donald Trump and Ohio Republicans have taken aggressive action to ensure they are also getting the relief they need. One important step was securing the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to inject $350 billion into America’s great small business community.

We must find ways to give our businesses and employees some sense of stability in this turbulent time, and President Trump’s administration is working around the clock to achieve that end.

Included in the CARES Act, this program is designed to help small businesses receive cash-flow assistance at their local bank or at any one of the Small Business Administration’s approved lenders. As long as the loans go toward critical needs such as maintaining all employees’ salaries and keeping the lights on and the doors open, they will be forgiven in full.

This is a tremendous opportunity for small business owners to ensure that the businesses they have poured their time, effort, and money into are still around when we come out on the other side.

Small businesses can find these details and more, as well as apply, at sba.gov/coronavirus. I strongly encourage those who will benefit to take advantage of this opportunity. The grants would be retroactive to Feb. 15, 2020, with the goal of helping bring workers who have already been laid off back onto payrolls. Other provisions in the CARES Act provide assistance for those who are not able to return.

Additionally, the U.S. SBA recently approved a request from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine to allow small businesses and nonprofits to apply for low-interest, long-term loans up to $2 million through the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

Ohio also is working to connect essential businesses with skilled employees. If you are an essential business or essential worker, I encourage you to visit Ohio’s COVID-19 job search to help fill crucial employment needs that provide the services that Ohioans still rely upon.

During this crisis, we continue to recognize the firm commitments, difficult decisions, and countless risks that are made each day by Ohio’s more than 900,000 small business owners. Everything we can do to help them will pay dividends for our state.

The health and safety of Americans is our top priority, but the Paycheck Protection Program and other important steps we are taking will ensure our economy and small businesses will also be able to bounce back. President Trump’s administration and our state leaders are exhausting every option in the fight against coronavirus, and I am proud of the action that is being taken.

I applaud and thank each and every person who has stepped up and found innovative ways to help their community.

Because of our sense of unity and our resiliency as Ohioans, I am confident that both our public health and economy will bounce back stronger than ever.

Timken is Ohio Republican Party chairwoman.

columns@tribtoday.com

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