Photo: Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05)
Michigan currently ranks fifth in number of confirmed coronavirus cases and ranks second when it comes to the number of unemployment claims filed during the pandemic. Yet Michigan ranks 35th when it comes to small business loans from the SBA, based on eligible payroll in the state.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided $349 billion for the creation of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) within the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). This important program enables lenders to provide 100 percent SBA-backed loans to small-and-medium-sized businesses to cover payroll and other costs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the rollout of the PPP on April 3, 2020, over 1 million loans have been processed.
On April 19, Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus led a letter to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), along with other members of Michigan’s congressional delegation, expressing their concern with the low number of small business loans made to the state compared to the demonstrated need in Michigan.
In addition to Congressman Kildee, the letter was signed by Michigan U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, as well as Representatives Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Elissa Slotkin (MI-08), Andy Levin (MI-09) and Haley Stevens (MI-11).
The members asked critical questions to the SBA, saying they were looking forward to a prompt response.
“As members of Michigan’s congressional delegation, we write to express concern that our state, despite being one of the hardest hit states in this pandemic, currently ranks in the bottom third of states receiving small business loans under the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) compared to the number of businesses that are eligible,” the members wrote.
They pointed out according to SBA’s data provided to Congress about the PPP program to date, many other states with the most COVID-19 cases also rank in the bottom third of states receiving PPP loans. Many states with a low number of COVID-19 cases have received the greatest number of PPP loan, they said.
“Since the PPP began, we have heard from small businesses in Michigan about problems accessing the program, including from underserved communities in rural and urban areas” the letter read.
“The SBA data on loans processed to date seems to confirm some of these challenges,” it continued.
The members asked what the SBA doing to ensure that small businesses in the hardest hit states are receiving their proportional share of the aid available under the Paycheck Protection Plan and asked if the SBA could provide information on how SBA determined each state’s allocation of loans.