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Lakeland Chamber sends letter to Polk Congressional Delegation asking to extend PPP Deadline

Lakeland Chamber sends letter to Polk Congressional Delegation asking to extend PPP Deadline

Lakeland Chamber sends letter to Polk Congressional Delegation asking to extend PPP Deadline

Lakeland Chamber sends letter to Polk Congressional Delegation asking to extend PPP Deadline

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce continues to advocate for small businesses.  The following letter was sent to the Polk Congressional Delegation:

March 3, 2021


Senator Name:
 
During these challenging times, the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce continues to advocate for the betterment of our nearly 1,300 investor businesses and our entire community. To ensure the continued viability of all our businesses, we strongly encourage Congress to consider extending the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) deadline through December 31, 2021.

We applaud Congress’ creation of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through passage of the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). In the past 12 months, more than 5 million small businesses, including more than 3,500 in the Lakeland area, have received temporary financial relief via the PPP loans. That aid allowed between 1.4 and 3.2 million employees nationwide to stay on payroll even when their employers were forced to close their doors. 

Despite the breadth of this emergency aid, small businesses continue to struggle, especially minority-owned businesses. Survey data shows that 66% of minority-owned small businesses fear permanent closure due to the pandemic compared to 57% of non-minority-owned firms. The same report shows that minorities have a harder time accessing the capital needed to keep their businesses open. More recent data shows neighborhoods with a higher concentration of minority-owned businesses are experiencing higher business closure rates (36%) compared to businesses in non-minority communities (22%). As the Lakeland Chamber embarks on its Prosperity Polk initiative which seeks to combat generational poverty in our city, continued support for businesses within our most distressed communities will be key to ensuring the furtherance of the employment opportunities necessary in breaking that cycle.

Legislation enacted last December helped target aid to small businesses that need help the most, and the American Rescue Plan passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week goes even further by providing targeted aid for the restaurant industry and shuttered venues while directing outreach and assistance to entrepreneurs in communities where minority-owned businesses are struggling.   

To build upon the momentum created by the most recent round of PPP funding, an extension of the application deadline for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to December 31, 2021, will provide our businesses with the much-needed support to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic in a position of strength.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter, and please do not hesitate to contact the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce if you have further questions in this regard.

Sincerely,
 
Cory Skeates, JD, FCCP, IOM
President & CEO
Lakeland Chamber of Commerce

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