Emergency loan program excludes ex-convicts trying to escape

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A Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan is used by small businesses to provide the funds needed to keep their staff on the payroll and to cover necessary expenses such as rent and utilities during the crisis. coronaviruses. But, if you work for a small business owned by someone who has paid their debt to the company for a criminal past, they may not be eligible.

Created by small business Aadministration (SBA), 5.7% of US small businesses received PPP loans as of April 14.

However, the PPP loan applicationation contains some language which could prevent many small business owners from applying and receiving assistance afterwards. To applythe cant must answer yes or no to the following question: “During the last 5 years, for any crime, has the applicant (if it is an individual) or any owner of the applicant 1) been convicted; 2) pleaded guilty; 3) pleaded nolo pretendere; 4) has been placed in pre-trial diversion; or 5) was placed on some form of parole or probation (including pretrial probation)? ”

Wyden responds

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) released a Press release face the question.

He states: “Although the published guidelines exclude applicants with a criminal record, including those who have been charged but never convicted and those who have already served their sentence, nothing in CARES [Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security] Act demands this ban. This orientation is particularly troubling given the racial disparities endemic in our criminal justice system. This exclusion exacerbates existing inequalities in access to credit, and lenders should report the number of rejected loans on this basis.

Wyden and 22 Senate colleagues wrote and signed a letter to the Trump administration outlining these concerns and urging that they “amend the PPP guidelines, reaffirm the obligation of lending institutions to comply with fair loan laws and require lenders to report on the demographics of any PPP loan.”

In addition to these concerns, Wyden address the Trump administration regarding the health and safety of incarcerated persons and employees, specifically citing a federal correctional facility institution in Sheridan, Ore.

Speaking to the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Wyden wrote: “In light of national reports that have demonstrated the fierce infectivity of COVID-19 in confined spaces such as prisons, it is of paramount importance that the BOP respond to these concerns. This crisis must be faced with the strictest commitment to the health and safety of all, imprisoned or not. “

Merkley responds

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) wrote a letter to the US Small Business Administration explaining their own concerns about the language of the PPP loan applicationage, stating: “The scope of this provision is unreasonable, as it punishes individuals who should be innocent until proven guilty and those who have already served their sentence and, because of the well-known racial disparities in our justice system, disproportionateproportionately disqualifies minority-owned businesses.

He concludes: “The shortcomings in the current implementation of PPPs are all too obvious. We have an opportunity to correct these shortcomings, and we must seize this opportunity. “

In addition to urging the SBA to make changes, Merkley urged Senate leaders to demand those changes before adding more money to the program.

By Cara Nixon

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