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June 4, 2020
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 Inside this issue
  Executive Directors Message  


Last night, the U.S. Senate passed the "Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act" a measure aimed at amending the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to better aid small businesses impacted by the COVID pandemic. The passage comes after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the same bill (H.R. 7010) last week.
Some highlights of the bill include: 
  • Extending the covered period from approximately 8 weeks to 24 weeks. This tripling of time will grant PPP loan recipients a longer period to spend the funds and qualify for loan forgiveness (or come close to it). PPP loan borrowers do not have to opt to change the covered period, and can keep the original eight-week period.
  • A change in the previously mandated "spending threshold", lowering the total amount spent on payroll expenses from 75% to 60% of the loan amount. However, unlike the existing law, borrowers must spend at least 60% on payroll expenses or none of the loan will be forgiven. This is in stark contrast to the current "sliding scale" paradigm; in which the amount eligible for forgiveness is reduced if the borrower spends less than 75% on payroll costs.
    • Please Note: Some Congressional Leaders have indicated that technical tweaks could be made to preserve the existing "sliding scale".  We will report more on this if it gains any traction.
  • Clarification that June 30 remains the deadline for applying to receive a PPP loan, while the spending deadline is moved from June 30 to December 31 to allow for funds to be depleted over the new, longer 24-week window.
  • Any amount that is not forgiven can now be repaid over five years, rather than two years as originally mandated in the CARES Act. The interest rate remains at 1% over the duration of the loan.
  • A new "full time employee" exception was created to permit borrowers to achieve forgiveness, even if they are unable to rehire their entire workforce. The current guidance allowed borrowers to reduce the forgivable amount if a previous employee turned down a good faith offer to return to work (the existing rules allowed an employer to hire another worker to replace the non-returning employee, but at the same hours and wages as before the pandemic). Borrowers will now be able to adjust this calculation if they were unable to find a qualified, willing person to hire for the vacated position. This change essentially removes the requirement that borrowers rebuild their workforce to the same staff levels as before the pandemic (which was cited as February 15, 2020).
  • Loan recipients will now be permitted to delay paying their payroll taxes (something that was not previously allowed under the CARES Act).
The bill's passage and enactment comes after the small business community continues to grapple with the program's rules and guidance, as handed down by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). 
The President is expected to sign the bill into law.
The NJ Economic Development Authority has released the full details of the upcoming Phase 2 Grant Program. Several members were successful in grabbing a grant when the program was first unveiled, due in so small part to the fact that they followed our advice and were at the computer right when the applications opened with all their information ready to go. There was $5 million in funding available in Phase 1, and that money was fully claimed within the first hour it was available. This time, there will be $45 million available.
Thankfully, the EDA has published the full application and instructions online in advance, so you have plenty of time to prepare. Click HERE to download the application and review it.
A few additional details that NJGCA members may find useful. The Phase 2 application is limited to businesses with 25 or fewer "full time equivalent" (FTE) employees. This means that you can still apply for the grant if your headcount of employees is more than 25, since part time workers can count as less than 1 FTE. You can use the official EDA grant size estimator to determine the size of the grant you are eligible for. The grant is provided at $1,000 per full time employee up to $10,000.
The application asks for your North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. We have looked up your code for you. Pick the one which describes your business:
-Gasoline Station with Convenience Store: 447110
-Gasoline Station with Auto Repair, or gas station with no other business attached: 447190
-Auto Repair and Maintenance (no gas): 811111
-Convenience Store (no gas): 445120
For the questions about COVID-19 Impact, all gas stations, convenience stores, and auto repair shops were deemed essential businesses as defined by Governor Murphy's Executive Order.
There is no application fee for this program, and it is designed so any small business under the 25 FTE cap which has been hurt by the COVID-19 crisis can apply for what is in effect free money. While there is much more money available than there was in April for Phase 1, the pool of businesses which are eligible has also been significantly expanded. It is hard for me to imagine there will still be money by the end of the first day, and I recommend you are sitting at your computer with all the information in that lending application in front of you so you can plug it all in within the first few minutes after the application goes online.
More details, and the webpage where the application will be can be found HERE. 
Recent events happening around the nation have me worried for many reasons, but for the purposes of this newsletter, I am worried especially for members that are located in larger cities or areas that may be vulnerable should peaceful protests turn violent. We want to include the following guidance simply out of an abundance of caution -- if you may be in one of these areas and are worried about the possibility of violence breaking out, we suggest the following:
  • Remove any valuables and cash off the premises
  • Look for any vulnerabilities in security that you may have and address accordingly
  • DO NOT ATTEMPT TO HANDLE ANY LOOTERS ON YOUR OWN - call the police if anyone breaks on to your premises 
Thank you all who were able to join us last week for our webinar on PPP forgiveness, and thank you again to our MBP Alicyn Craig of MARC Law and Bryan Decker from PKF O'Connor Davies. If you were not able to join us last week, you can find the recording and the PDF of the slides on our Coronavirus webpage under the "NJGCA Resources" tab. Don't forget to join us today for our webinar on Best Practices for Employees and Customers in Today's Workplace at 1 PM. You can register HERE if you have not done so already.

Be Well -  
Sal Risalvato
Executive Director




  Training Class Schedule  

All classes held at NJGCA HQ -- 4900 Route 33 West, Wall Township, NJ 07753

Two-Day Emissions Inspector Training Class
April 22nd & 23rd

Want your technicians to become a NJ Emissions Inspector? We can help!

Our new two-day class will provide all the information for becoming a NJ Emissions Inspector. Day one will consist of written test training and the State will administer the written test the very same day at our offices. Day two will be a hands-on training course to prepare you for the hands-on test. Class will run from 7:00am to 4:00pm on day 1. Class will begin at 12:30 PM on day 2. Cost is $479 for members.

April class registration click here




  News Around The State  

Overhaul Of Small Business Rescue Hits Snags In Senate
A bipartisan drive to relax restrictions on emergency small business loans is hitting roadblocks in the Senate, where Republicans are at odds over the future of the aid program designed to keep employers afloat during the pandemic. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer want to pass a bill approved by the House in an overwhelming 417-1 vote that would give small businesses flexibility in how they use loans from the Paycheck Protection Program. The legislation has broad support among businesses because it would make it easier for borrowers to have the loans forgiven and avoid paying back the debt. Congress made debt forgiveness a key feature of the program, as long as employers agree to maintain payroll.

More People Drive as Gas Prices Stay Low
The roads are becoming a little more crowded these days, as drivers gas up and head out, taking advantage of low pump prices and states easing lockdown restrictions, the Wall Street Journal reports. The increase in driving comes as consumers are spending more, which some see as a hopeful sign of a recovering economy. With more motorists on the road, gas prices have crept up for the past five weeks, although still well under where prices had been at the beginning of 2020. Consumers are ready to hit the road again and resume their pre-pandemic routines, albeit at a slower pace, a survey released last week by NACS found.

California Narrative Casts A Pall Over East Coast Efforts To Elevate Gig Economy Workers
An Uber executive has been roaming the halls of the New York State Capitol bearing a 44-page sheaf of news clips that, he says, augurs the misery that will envelop New York should legislators grant gig economy workers "employee" status like California has. . . California's measure, which took effect Jan. 1, has Uber and other companies who use gig workers warily watching other states that might want to emulate the biggest U.S. state. But while labor-friendly politicians on the East Coast have been making noise about protections for contract workers in New York and New Jersey, the narrative emerging from California hangs over the two states like a specter.

Most Post-Pandemic Payments May Be Cashless
As U.S. businesses reopen following the recent COVID-19 lockdown, it won't be business as usual. For one thing, it's unlikely that consumers will go back to using cash after their recent experience with contactless payment, reports Fortune.com. The support for contactless payment comes from the widespread fear that using physical currency could be a way to pass the coronavirus from person to person. The World Health Organization stresses the importance of thorough hand washing after handling cash, and some banks have been using heat or ultraviolet light to sterilize money.

Murphy's Critics Chide His Covid-19 Policies After Offering Initial Goodwill
For weeks, it was no longer politics as usual in Trenton. As the coronavirus pandemic tightened its grip on New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy's usual Statehouse foes went silent. Republicans praised his efforts in flattening the curve. Democrats who had blocked key elements of his policy agenda offered their support. That goodwill is fading fast. Lawsuits have been filed. A bipartisan select committee is being formed to investigate the state's response to the virus. Senators on both sides of the aisle have become increasingly critical of the governor's cautious reopening strategy - which they claim caused undue harm to small businesses - as well as his administration's alleged mismanagement of deadly Covid-19 outbreaks at long-term care facilities and state prisons.

Proposed Bill Grants Businesses Legal Immunity Against Covid-19 Lawsuits
If you were infected with COVID-19 at your place of work, or a restaurants or a store where you shopped, a bill introduced by state Republicans on Thursday would clamp down on the kind of legal actions you could take against the owner. Assembly Bill 4189 would grant immunity to businesses against any claims stemming from COVID-19 where a person believes they were exposed to the virus at their establishment. That comes as the Murphy administration gradually lifts restrictions on what businesses can open during the pandemic - with some businesses fearing a wave of potential lawsuits.

Murphy Vetoes Allowing N.J. Small Businesses To Delay Rent Payments
Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday shot down a bill offering small businesses slammed by the coronavirus a chance to suspend their rent payments for up to three months. The bill would have given the governor power to issue an executive order allowing some small businesses to defer rent payments. They would have repaid the missed rent over six to nine months following the end of the state of emergency. Landlords would have been barred from evicting small businesses that take advantage of the rent suspension order. They would have been considered in violation of the New Jersey consumer fraud act if they did attempt to evict their tenant, according to the bill (S2363). In his veto message, Murphy said the bill shifts the financial pain from small businesses to commercial landlords "who may not be relieved of their own obligations to pay mortgage payments and property taxes."

House Passes Bill To Ease Small Business Emergency Loan Rules
The House on Thursday passed legislation in a nearly unanimous vote that would relax restrictions on emergency government-backed loans designed to avoid mass layoffs at small businesses, a major restructuring of the popular aid program. The bill the House approved in a 417-1 vote would give borrowers under the $670 billion Paycheck Protection Program more leeway in how they can use the funds and still have the loans forgiven in exchange for maintaining their payrolls. The forgiveness element was a key incentive Congress created for small businesses to take on the debt and keep paying workers during the pandemic. In the weeks since the program's launch, many employers have complained that restrictions imposed on the money threatened their ability to secure loan forgiveness, since many are more burdened by overhead costs than payroll.



  Energy Information Agency Weekly Retail Gasoline Prices  
Each week, the Energy Information Administration publishes a list of average gasoline prices for the previous three weeks. NJGCA will begin including this list with the Weekly Road Warrior. Remember, these prices are reflective of self-serve everywhere except NJ.


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