Rounds hosts teleconference, addresses Paycheck Protection Plan concerns.

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Senator Mike Rounds (R) hosted a Town Hall telephone conference Monday morning, from Pierre, to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic, but also the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Plan – available under the CARES Act.

Not all workers are covered under the P.P.P. so many South Dakota business owners asked questions about their eligibility, for themselves and their employees.

“These programs are designed to keep employees at work, even if there’s not any work to do, to keep the employees on board,” said Sen. Rounds. 

In the CARES- Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security – Act, $25 billion in assistance to go directly to agriculture producers.

But some ranchers have stated they’re more concerned about the long term market rules over short term stimulus.  

“We actually agreed with them,” said Rounds. “You’re seeing consumers paying all time highs for beef at their grocery store at the same time producers are finding themselves in a position where they’re not even making enough to pay their own bills.” 

Ag producers continue to push the federal government to challenge packers to follow market rules and require country of origin labeling.

The agriculture industry is covered in CARES, but the gambling industry is a grey area.

Rounds says the act was originally written to include small casinos — the ones with less than 500 employees. But the Small Business Administration cited an old law – businesses making a third of their revenue from gaming would not be eligible for the P.P.P. under the CARES Act.

The American Gaming Association has pleading their case since CARES was signed on March 27th. The U.S. Treasury and S.B.A have been contacted about changing the law.

“We think they made a mistake. We think they inappropriately interpreted the fact that this law should be subservient to an older law,” said Rounds.

Until possible provisions are made, Rounds suggests that businesses look at options with other lenders or other loans available through the S.B.A.

He suggests that changes could be made in another phase of the legislation but no time line has been discussed in Washington.

Representative Dusty Johnson (R) also took time to answer questions regarding the P.P.P.

“This is really an incredible opportunity for small businesses, those with fewer than 500 employees,” Rep. Johnson said. “I mean, the federal government is going to, in essence, pay for two months of your payroll, your rent and your utilities. This is an opportunity people shouldn’t pass.”

For ways to apply, or understanding eligibility standards, visit here.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, National News, South Dakota News