LINCOLN – According to a report by Nebraska 1st District Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, Nebraska businesses have taken full advantage of PPP like no other state in the nation.
Fortenberry says “the Paycheck Protection Program was an important part of the massive $2.3 trillion bill recently passed by Congress to protect our health, protect individuals and families, and protect our economy. As a critical component of that effort, the PPP enabled small businesses to take out a loan in order to keep their employees on the payroll and pay other expenses. If an employer avoided layoffs during an eight-week period, a significant portion of the loan would be forgiven.”
The Congressman says “Nebraska ranks number one in the nation in the number of PPP loans approved, per capita. A reporter from Reuters called to ask me why. The first thing I told him was, ‘Nebraskans know how to plow.’ A number of factors aligned. Our financial institutions are community-oriented: The banker knows the farmer, the banker knows the barber, the banker knows the café owner. And we have a number of small business associations that quickly realized that the PPP could be a lifesaver for them. By doing a number of telephone town halls with these associations, the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the banking community, word got out quickly. Then the entrepreneurial spirit of Nebraska kicked into high gear as a lot of people got busy.”
WRINKLES HERE AND THERE
Forterberry continues “Naturally, with a rollout of a $350 billion program, there are going to be wrinkles, especially when the government had to quickly rely on thousands of independent financial institutions to manage the portal. The Treasury Secretary asked us to directly send specific issues to the Department. One by one, we overcame a number of initial problems that banks and individuals were having. If you or anyone you know is still having difficulty, please know my staff and I are here to help.
As a matter of policy, it was pretty clear from the beginning that we could run out of funds for this program and other disaster loan measures. We’ve reached that point. The discussion as to how to potentially replenish the funds is going on right now in Washington. As we get that sorted out, small business owners should continue to apply for PPP relief. It’s helpful to remember that the overall goal of this entire relief effort is to ensure two things: the care of our sick and the care of our economic well-being, so that once we turn the corner on coronavirus, we are ready to go back to work.
I am so proud of our state. While not a national championship in football, this week’s impressive number-one ranking speaks to our character as Nebraskans.”