COVID-19 Stimulus Updates Affecting the News Media Industry

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Below we have provided links to Alliance and other third-party resources that provide useful information for news publishers about the Stimulus Package, CARES Act, small business loans and more. Please check back regularly – we will continue to update this page with more resources, as they become available, that may be helpful to news publishers.

Alliance Stimulus Funds Guide:

Alliance counsel has created a member-exclusive summary of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act (or stimulus 3) to identify available funding and implications for news publishers that will result from the legislation, which was recently signed by the President. Members can log in and read the full summary here.

The Alliance has compiled a brief, high-level explainer about what the stimulus package offers to businesses and citizens. It will be updated regularly as more information becomes available. You can read the full post here.

Economic Stimulus Update from Washington:

On December 21, 2020, Congress passed the next round of stimulus, which includes an affiliation waiver that will allow previously ineligible news publishers to apply for the Small Business Administration (SBA) PPP loans as individual, independent entities, despite ownership by companies with other small news publishers or non-news businesses, allowing more publishers to qualify for the vital loans.

On May 12, U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi introduced the latest stimulus package, which includes support for local news in the form of an affiliation waiver allowing more news publishers to apply for Small Business Administration (SBA) loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The Speaker’s proposal includes a waiver for news publishers to apply for PPP loans as individual, independent entities, despite ownership by companies with other small news publishers or non-news businesses, allowing more publishers to qualify for the vital loans.

This effort was led early on by Chairman David Cicilline (D-RI) and Ranking Member Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), who sent a bipartisan letter with over 125 Members to support the inclusion of relief through expanded SBA loans for affiliated news publishers.

On May 13, a bipartisan bill, the Local News and Emergency Information Act of 2020, was introduced in the Senate that offers legislative text around a Small Business Administration (SBA) affiliation waiver that would allow more news publishers to apply for SBA loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The bill was introduced by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), John Boozman (R-AR), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The bill includes language that would restrict these funds to be used by the parent-owner of the newspaper-borrower.

Action: Tell Your Representatives and Senators How They Can Support Local Newspapers

The Alliance has been working over the last six weeks to enhance the ability of newspapers to get recognition and relief during the COVID-19 pandemic – making sure that newspapers are recognized as “essential” businesses; fighting restrictions that would have excluded certain newspapers under the original CARES Act; and advocating for a delay in pension payments. We have continued to work over the last couple of weeks to expand the SBA loan program to more newspaper companies and to encourage the federal government to immediately direct current spending on advertising to local media outlets.

That is why we are asking you for help. The Alliance and others in the industry are pursuing the following proposals, which Congress could enact to help local newspapers through this crisis and ensure they are around to cover the next one.

The best way to communicate your views to your representatives in Washington is to share your own personal stories outlining what your newspaper has been doing to serve your community during the COVID-19 crisis: explain how the crisis has negatively impacted the newspaper’s financial position; threatens the livelihood of your employees; and jeopardizes your ability to continue to provide news and information in your community.

To find out what you can do, read our alert here.

Paycheck Protection Program:

The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses.

View SBA loan application sample here.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) published additional guidance to supplement previously posted interim final rules on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). See the interim final rule here.

Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist:

The guide is aimed at helping small businesses and self-employed individuals learn how to apply for loans they may need to help them financially survive the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read the full guide here.

U.S. Small Business Administration Coronavirus-Related Resources:

Including how small business owners can apply for low-interest economic injury disaster loans. Access the resources here.

Small Business Loan Codes:

As of April 3, 2020, businesses are able to apply for U.S. Small Business Administration loans. Under the SBA plan, news businesses with 1,000 or fewer employees are considered a small business. Loan applicants should use code 51110. You can find the full list of SBA codes and definitions here.

Small Business Administration Affiliation Rules:

The Small Business Administration (SBA) waived the affiliation rules for a portion of small businesses receiving equity funding, allowing them to be eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The SBA ruled if an investor owns less than 50 percent of equity in the entity applying for a loan, the entity would likely not be considered or counted as an affiliate. You can learn more here.

Small Business Administration Approved Lenders: 

The SBA has released guides for all the states and districts in the United States that list all the SBA-approved lenders in that region. Each state/district has its own guide and list of approved lenders. To find the guide and lenders for your region, access the spreadsheet here and refer to the included page numbers for lists of approved lenders.

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