Performing Arts Alliance Newsletter

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    December 22, 2020
  COVID-19 Relief is On the Way!  

Dear Friends and Colleagues: 

Good news!

New and extended forms of federal COVID-19 relief are on the way in a year-end package of FY21 federal funding and coronavirus assistance of unprecedented scope, to be signed into law this week. Following months of advocacy by the PAA Government Advocacy team, in partnership with an extraordinary and essential network of advocates across the broader arts and nonprofit sectors nationwide, much-needed relief will be available in the new year, including support specifically designated for the live performing arts and its workforce.

Access to relief will be fast! Eligibility requirements will be created rapidly by the Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Treasury, and other federal and state agencies. We know you will have many questions that can't be answered until more information is available. PAA colleagues are working hard to ensure we will be able to answer your questions. We will also have news of additional updates from member organization League of American Orchestras, as soon as more information is available. Please stay tuned!

See the full text of the legislation, all 5,600 pages, here. 

Please click here for a more detailed overview, provided by the League, on key provisions in the package, including much more information on Save our Stages and the Paycheck Protection Program. The League will continue to update the page as more information becomes available. Some quick highlights include:

  • Save Our Stages (SOS): Performing arts organizations and talent representatives will be eligible for the Small Business Administration's (SBA) new $15 billion grant program dedicated to providing support for "shuttered venue operators." Organizations do not need to own their performance space to apply. The SBA has just 10 days after the bill is signed into law to write the rules for how to administer the program.

  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): More than $280 billion in new PPP relief will be available, including a limited second opportunity to apply for forgivable loans for those not accessing Save Our Stages grants. Eligible expenses are expanded, and loan forgiveness terms are improved. 

  • Employee Retention Tax Credits (ERTC): The Employee Retention Tax Credits (ERTC) will be extended and significantly expanded, and are compatible with PPP and SOS relief.

  • Charitable Giving Incentives: The new universal charitable deduction for non-itemizers that was created under the CARES Act has been extended to apply throughout the 2021 tax year and raised to $600 for joint filers. More generous deduction limitations for those who itemize their returns and for corporate giving are also extended.

  • Relief for Nonprofits Self-Insuring Unemployment Benefits: Orchestras that self-insure unemployment benefits will continue to have liability reduced by 50% through March 14, 2021.

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Compensation: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance will be extended, and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefits that expired earlier this year are reinstated at $300 per week, through March 14, 2021. An extra $100 per week will be available for certain workers who have a mix of W-2 and 1099 income.

  • National Endowment for the Arts: For FY21, the National Endowment for the Arts received an appropriation of $167.5 million, with special permission added for grant funds to be used for operating expenses.

  • Education Funding: The bill provides an $82 billion Education Stabilization Fund, and FY21 annual funding for the U.S. Department of Education's Arts in Education program fund has been increased to $30.5 million.

  • Broadband Funding: The package includes $7 billion for broadband, including funding for those struggling to afford internet access, $1 billion for broadband on tribal lands, and $300 million for rural broadband deployment.

We are grateful to all of you across the country for your role in actively advocating for federal relief. This moment confirms that your voices have been heard -- THANK YOU!

In the meantime, please visit PAA member websites for additional information specific to you or your organization.

The Performing Arts Alliance (PAA) is a 501c4 multi-disciplinary coalition of national service organizations from the professional nonprofit performing arts field. Through legislative and grassroots action, PAA advocates before the U.S. Congress and key policy makers for national policies that enhance and foster the contributions the performing arts make to America.