In the early hours of the morning, it was announced that the Senate passed a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package. Passed with a staggering vote of 96-0, the stimulus package is designed to provide needed relief for the millions of Americans affected by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The stimulus package would support everything from individuals and their families to airlines and hospitals. Notably, the stimulus package means that help is on the way for a struggling construction industry.
In this editorial, we break down the contents of the $2 trillion stimulus package and discuss what it means for contractors and their workers. Although the package still needs to be voted on by the House, it can be expected to pass with similar support. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated that the stimulus package “will rush new resources onto the front lines of our nation’s historic fight and it will inject trillions of dollars of cash into the economy as fast as possible to help American workers, families, small businesses and industries make it through this disruption and emerge on the other side ready to soar.”
At Cotney Construction Law, we are unwavering in our support of this industry. Our Colorado Springs construction law firm will remain at the forefront, ready to assist any construction company in need. If you need legal assistance during this difficult time, do not hesitate to contact a Colorado Springs construction litigation attorney for assistance.
Emergency Loans for Small Businesses
We begin by focusing on the companies that have the most to gain from the stimulus package: small businesses. If passed, the stimulus package would create a $367 billion loan program for businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Contractors can expect eight weeks of cash assistance to cover expenses, such as rent and worker salaries. Also included is $10 billion in Small Business Administration (SBA) emergency grants, up to $10 million per business. For businesses with existing SBA loans, $17 billion is being allocated to cover six months of payments. However, businesses that opt for the below tax credit will not qualify for special SBA loans.
Businesses that Retain Workers
Employers who retain their workers during this crisis will have their loans forgiven. Additionally, employers would qualify for a tax credit if they retain idle workers, thereby taking a 50 percent loss compared to the same quarter from the previous year. Qualifying businesses would get a refund for wage costs, up to $5,000 per worker.
Smaller construction companies must do everything in their power to save money as worker safety, project delays, and disputes become an increasing concern. Unfortunately, legal issues will only become more prevalent with the spread of COVID-19, which is why Cotney Construction Law is offering an affordable monthly subscription plan to construction companies in need. With a subscription plan, you can have access to an on-demand Colorado Springs construction lawyer who can help you keep your workers safe and keep your business running smoothly.
Emergency Loans for Larger Industries
$500 billion will be allocated to larger industries, including $17 billion for “businesses critical to maintaining national security.” Although the Treasury Department will assign loans, an inspector general and oversight committee will be appointed to oversee how the money is allocated. We can only hope that this money comes fast enough for construction companies that are essential for maintaining our nation’s hospitals and infrastructure.
For Employees and Unemployed Workers
As an employer, you will continue to face difficult choices in the coming weeks, especially now that Governor Jared Polis has issued a statewide “stay at home” order in Colorado. Although construction is listed as a critical business, you may still be faced with no other option but to lay off trusted workers. Fortunately, the stimulus package would expand unemployment insurance. If you’re concerned that your company is not an essential business in your area, consult an attorney experienced in Colorado Springs construction law for clarification.
For up to four months, unemployed workers will be entitled to $600 per week on top of what state unemployment programs currently pay in unemployment benefits. As ABC News reports, “unemployed workers are eligible to receive up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits.” Some lawmakers are concerned that these provisions incentivize workers not to work — that workers would actually receive a raise by going on unemployment. Hopefully, this provision provides a needed safety net, not an easy out, for workers during this pandemic. Consult a Colorado Springs construction attorney for assistance with unemployment claims.
Direct Payment to Taxpayers
In addition to expanding unemployment insurance, the stimulus package would send direct payments to tax-paying Americans who make less than $99,000 a year. Those who earn less than $75,000 can expect a direct payment of $1,200. Married couples are to receive $2,400, and families can expect an additional $500 per child. As income increases above $75,000, payment decreases. Americans can expect to receive a direct payment within the next few weeks.
$1,200 isn’t much for a business, but every little bit helps. And it will provide your workers with additional funds to help pay their food, rent, and utility bills. It may not be much of a comfort for construction companies operating with skeleton crews. But as jobless claims soar to a record 3.3 million, at least your workers are not without recourse in this difficult time.
Protecting Your Company in the Coming Months
The biggest economic stimulus package in American history will still need to be passed by the House, which is currently not in session. Although there may yet to be changes to the stimulus package, it is expected to be met with strong bipartisan support. As we continue to cover this topic, a Colorado Springs contractor attorney will be providing updates on legislation that is set to impact the construction industry and the resilient professionals within it.
At Cotney Construction Law, we are here to provide for any of your legal needs. Whether your company requires dispute resolution services, contract review, or assistance complying with safety regulations, we can help. Our industry has been through tough times before, and it will only emerge stronger than ever after this crisis. For a partner who will protect your company in the coming weeks and months, contact a Colorado Springs contractor lawyer from Cotney Construction Law.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.