Approximately $2.1 billion in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans have been approved for 14,154 small business employers in Maine, according to a news release from the office of Sen. Susan Collins.
Approximately 100 different Maine lending institutions are currently participating in the program to disburse this federal funding.
The businesses in Maine receiving the loans employ a total of almost 180,000 employees, the release said.
The Paycheck Protection Program was created by the Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act, which was authored by Senator Collins along with Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) to help small employers continue to keep paying their workers for an 8-week period during the COVID-19 pandemic.
These loans will be forgiven so long as employers keep their workers on payroll and use the money for eligible expenses. Certain overhead expenses, including utilities, are also included.
Their legislation was included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which passed the Senate 96-0 and was signed into law on March 27, 2020.
Specifically, the Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act:
- Creates the Paycheck Protection Program, a nearly $350 billion program to provide eight weeks of cash-flow assistance to small businesses through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll for those eight weeks. If employers maintain their payroll and use the money for eligible expenses, the loans would be forgiven, which would help workers to remain employed and affected small businesses and our economy to quickly snap-back after the crisis.
- Allows the Paycheck Protection Program to cover payroll costs, including employee wages and salaries, paid sick leave, plus certain rent, mortgage interest payments, and utilities expenses to provide immediate access to capital for small businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19. Additional wages may be paid to tipped employees.
- Provides $265 million for grants to offer counseling, training, and related assistance to small businesses affected by COVID-19 to SBA resource partners, including Small Business Development Centers and Women’s Business Centers and $10 million for the Minority Business Development Agency’s Minority Business Centers and Minority Chambers of Commerce.