Bryant E News March 27, 2020

State of Illinois Coronavirus Web Site

COVID-19 Updates – Illinois House Republicans

Dear Friend,

Illinoisans have nearly completed a full week of a ‘stay-at-home’ order implemented by Governor Pritzker just six days ago. Life in America is much different today than it was 30 days ago. The US economy is experiencing turbulence and main street America is feeling more than just a pinch. As we move about to get the essential things we need like groceries and exercise, please keep in mind some helpful tips:

Listed below are several topics of interest relating directly to the COVID-19 outbreak and its fallout. As we work to get through this difficult time, please keep in mind that we can all take steps in our own lives to limit the spread of the virus and keep ourselves and others safe. My offices are currently closed to foot traffic, but we are taking constituent requests via phone 618-242-8115 or 618-684-1100 or email at Bryant@ILHouseGOP.org.

WJPF Radio Interview March 27, 2020

Great chat with Tom Miller on WJPF this morning. We covered a lot of topics relating to COVID-19 including IDNR facility and park closures, tax filing deadline extension, economic impacts, and possible legislative actions we can take to assist employers and the medical community during this unprecedented time. I also called on Gov. Pritzker to immediately change his policy that has closed state parks and recreation areas.

Find the interview at this link: https://www.wjpf.com/episode/newsradio-wjpf-interview-with-terri-bryant-march-27-2020/?fbclid=IwAR18GfYLlXirS00cWK2r2m9XNTIwbhllA8icECYU8uErY6nQ5zzQ-y8SWAc


Federal and State Income Tax Filing Deadline Extended until July 15, 2020

Last week the federal government announced that it was extending the income tax filing deadline to July 15. I joined several of my colleagues in the House in calling on Governor Pritzker to move Illinois’ filing deadline to match the new federal deadline. Thankfully, this week the governor announced that Illinois’ income tax filing deadline will be moved to July 15, 2020. 

For more information please visit the Illinois Department of Revenue’s website at: 

https://www2.illinois.gov/rev/research/publications/bulletins/Documents/2020/FY2020-24.pdf

Addressing Problems with Filing for Unemployment

The past two weeks have seen record layoffs and record numbers of people applying for unemployment insurance. Schools are closed. The State of Illinois has so far struggled to meet with website and phone call demands.

There has simply been too much volume for the current employees to handle. 

To that end, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin sent a letter to Governor Pritzker asking that he take whatever steps necessary to fix the website and phone call overload issues. I understand that the folks at the Department of Employment Security are doing the best they can with what they have. 

We are simply asking the Governor to explore using a 3rd party vendor to enhance IDES’ ability to handle the new massive caseload they are experiencing.

HELP FOR THE UNEMPLOYED

Unemployment benefits may be available to some individuals whose unemployment is attributable to COVID-19. Illinois residents who are temporarily out of work because their employer has closed due to the coronavirus or parents who leave work to care for their children because of school closures can qualify for Unemployment Insurance (UI) if they meet all the other basic requirements.

Job Search

Many businesses are hiring full and part-time employees during the COVID-19 outbreak. These sites are maintaining job opening lists and other resources job seekers may find helpful:

State of Illinois Provides Financial Assistance Available for Small Businesses

MURPHYSBORO – State Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) is sharing information for small businesses in southern Illinois being financially impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

Bryant says the State of Illinois now offers three new programs to help Small Businesses are being facilitated through the Department of Commerce of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).

Hospitality Emergency Grant Program – DEADLINE IS APRIL 1

To help hospitality businesses make ends meet in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, DCEO is launching the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program with $14 million drawn from funds originally budgeted for job training, tourism promotion, and other purposes.  Grant funds are available to support working capital like payroll and rent, as well as job training, retraining, and technology to support shifts in operations, like increased pick-up and delivery. Bars and restaurants that generated between $500K and $1M in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $25,000, and bars and restaurants that generated less than $500K in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $10,000.  Hotels that generated less than $8M in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $50,000.

Who is eligible?

Bars and restaurants with a valid license to serve food or liquor and who generated revenues of less than $1 million in 2019. Hotels with a valid license (hotels, motels other lodging establishments) and who generated revenues of less than $8 million in 2019.

What can grant funds be used for?

For bars and restaurants, based on the businesses needs identified in the grant application, funds can be used to support working capital (rent, payroll, and other accounts payable), job training (such as new practices related to take out, delivery and sanitation) and technology enabling new operations as well as other costs to implement that technology. 
For hotels, funds can be used as working capital to support the retention of employees.

How do businesses apply?

Businesses can submit an application online here: Landing PageEnglish ApplicationSpanish Application. Applications for awards will be accepted until 5:00 pm on April 1st, and winners will be chosen via a lottery, therefore, there is no benefit to submitting an application first as long as a valid, complete application is received by the deadline.

How much money is available?

$14 million is available under this program. 

  • Bars and restaurants that generated less than $500,000 in annual revenue last year will be eligible for up to $10,000.
  • Bars and restaurants that generated between $500,000 and $1M in annual revenue last year will be eligible for up to $25,000. 
  • Hotels that generated less than $8 million in annual revenue last year will be eligible for up to $50,000. 

How soon will businesses receive funds?

Accion will notify businesses on April 4th if they have received an award. Accion and DCEO are striving to make funds available to awarded businesses within two days of receiving the necessary bank information from an awarded grantee. 
Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund

DCEO and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) are establishing the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund to offer small businesses low-interest loans of up to $50,000.

Businesses located outside of the City of Chicago with fewer than 50 workers and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 will be eligible to apply.  Successful applicants will owe nothing for six months and will then begin making fixed payments at a below-market interest rate for the remainder of a five-year loan term. Starting this Friday, March 27th, interested businesses will be able to express interest at a form that will be posted here.

Who is eligible?

Small businesses located outside of the City of Chicago with fewer than 50 workers and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 can apply.  Small businesses within the City of Chicago can apply to a similar loan program here.

What can loan funds be used for?

Loans can be used to support working capital.

How do businesses apply?

Businesses will be able to complete an interest form on this web page on Friday, March 27, 2020.

How much money is available?

Businesses can receive up a low-interest loan of up to $50,000 with a 5 year repayment period with no payments due for the first six months.

How soon will businesses receive funds?

Eligible businesses will be invited to submit a full application beginning on April 1. Once submitted, we will strive to make a loan decision within 10 days, and make funds available within two days of receiving bank information from a business.

Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program

To support small businesses in downstate and rural counties across Illinois, DCEO is repurposing $20 million in CDBG funds to support the Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program. 

This Fund will offer small businesses of up to 50 employees the opportunity to partner with their local governments to obtain grants of up to $25,000 in working capital.  These grants will be offered on a rolling basis.

Who is eligible?

Local governments can apply on behalf of businesses with 50 employees or less. Only units of local government recognized by the Illinois Constitution and able to support economic development activities on a sufficient scale are eligible to apply for Economic Development grant funding.  This includes cities, villages, and counties.  Municipalities must not be a HUD direct entitlement community or be located in an urban county that receives “entitlement” funds.  Application materials will be posted to the DCEO website on Friday, March 27, 2020 Read more.

The State of Illinois is also working with local financial institutions to provide low-interest loans to businesses and non-profits negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and that would not otherwise qualify for a traditional loan. More information can found below.

Constituents with questions about these programs or other information related to -he COVID-19 outbreak and its effects can call Rep. Bryant at 618-242-8115 or 618-684-1100 or email bryant@ilhousegop.org

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Financial Assistance Available from the US Small Business Administration

The US Small Business Administration has a COVID-19 Resources site here. The SBA will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.  These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has already approved Illinois’ eligibility for disaster assistance loans for small businesses facing financial hardship in all 102 counties due to COVID-19. Eligible businesses can apply for up to $2 million in low-interest loans here.

Business advisors at our Illinois Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are available to assist small businesses with the loan application process and are currently operating remotely. Businesses can locate their nearest Small Business Development Center here.

HOW YOU CAN SERVE DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

The best way you can help during the COVID-19 outbreak is to wash your hands often and stay at home. Here are other ways you can help:

Donate to COVID Response Fund

Donate Blood

Donate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

Report Price Gouging

Serve Illinois

Help a Food Pantry

Help Meals on Wheels

DONATEPERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)
During this unprecedented public health emergency, supplies of PPE for healthcare providers are being rapidly depleted. Health care personnel need to protect themselves when caring for patients by adhering to infection control and prevention practices, which includes having access to a sufficient supply of PPE.

On March 17, IDPH provided guidance to hospitals, outpatient surgical and procedural centers to limit non-essential adult elective surgical procedures, including all dental procedures until further notice. IDPH is encouraging all outpatient surgical and procedural centers, ambulatory surgical centers, and veterinarians to donate their unused PPE that is not immediately needed to assist those on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19.

Especially of need are surgical gloves, gowns, goggles, face shields, surgical masks, and N95 respirator masks.

To donate PPE to the State of Illinois’ PPE Donation program, please e-mail PPE.donations@illinois.gov

Thank You to Essential Employees and Unsung Heroes!

General Assembly: Legislative session canceled until at least April 5

Due to concerns over the potential spread of COVID-19, the Illinois General Assembly has canceled Session days planned until at least April 5. The deadline to pass bills through Committee was extended until April 24 and the deadline to pass bills on Third Reading is extended until May 8.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT REVENUE UPDATE (03-25-20) – Sales Tax Distribution

There is no expected delay in the distribution of sales tax revenues due to workforce changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the recent sales tax relief provided to eating and drinking establishments will delay collections from those businesses, which translates into a delay in distributions of those sales tax revenues to local governments.

The recent decrease in fuel prices will result in a reduction in sales tax revenues from this commodity, which may negatively impact distributions to local governments.

While sales at grocery stores and pharmacies have increased, it’s important to keep in mind State and local governments derive no little to no tax revenues from food nor medicine.

HOUSING

The Governor has ordered all state, county and local law enforcement to cease enforcement of orders of eviction during the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation. Individuals are still required by law to pay rent and mortgage payments and to comply with other obligations under tenancy or mortgage.

USDA Rural Housing Service UPDATE 03-25-20-

Single-Family Housing– Effective March 19, borrowers with USDA single-family housing Direct and Guaranteed loans are subject to a moratorium on foreclosure and eviction for a period of 60 days. This action applies to the initiation of foreclosures and evictions and to the completion of foreclosures and evictions in-process.

Guaranteed Loan Program: Guaranteed Loan borrowers who are in default or facing imminent default due to a documented hardship can have payments reduced or suspended by their lender for a period not to exceed 12 months of delinquency. Once the hardship is resolved, the lender can modify the loan to cure the delinquency or make up the missed payments based on the borrower’s individual circumstances. Guaranteed Loan servicing questions should be directed to: Program@usda.gov.

Direct Loan Program: USDA has waived or relaxed certain parts of the application process for Single-Family Housing Direct Loans, including site assessments, and has extended the time period that certificates of eligibility are valid. A Direct Loan borrower who is experiencing a reduction of income by more than 10 percent can request a Payment Assistance package to see if he/she is eligible for payment assistance or for more assistance than currently received. Moratorium Assistance is available for Direct Loan borrowers experiencing medical bill expenses (not covered by insurance) or job loss because of COVID-19. Qualifying borrowers can receive a moratorium on house payments for a period of time, repaid at a later date. Direct Loan questions should be directed to USDA’s Customer Service Center at 800-414-1226 (7:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Eastern Time Monday-Friday). Call volume and wait times are high at this time.

Multi-Family Housing. Multi-Family Housing is taking several steps to help owners, management agents and tenants maintain quality housing during the COVID-19 outbreak. Specifically, three immediate steps are effective for Section 515 Multi-Family properties:Tenant certifications due March 31, April 30 and May 31 for Multi-Family properties have been extended to June 30 with no late fees or overage charges, as allowed in Multi-Family guidance (HB-3-3560, Chapter 4, Section 4.11). This extension will allow for additional time to complete needed certifications while avoiding face-to-face meetings as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Late fees on Section 515 mortgages will be waived, subject to waiver authority in 7 CFR 3560.403 (c)(3).

Section 515 Annual Financial Statements due March 31 will be extended 30 days, as per Multi-Family guidance (HB-2-3560 Chapter 4, Section 4.16-H).

USDA is exploring whether a longer extension is appropriate and will
provide further guidance.

Current policy states that owners must process an interim recertification at the tenant’s request if there is a change in income of $50 or more per month. The owner should already have this policy in writing and apply it consistently. To the maximum extent possible, we encourage all owners to work with all tenants with impacted income to adjust rent payments.

The USDA encourages all owners to work with impacted residents and families to adjust rent payments, enter into forbearance agreements, and lessen the impact on affected residents.

At this time, no additional subsidy funding has been made available. If borrowers are temporarily unable to make loan payments, the Agency may waive late fees and enter into an official workout plan.

JOBS (NOW HIRING)

  • Job Openings and resources compiled by the Illinois House Republican Caucus.
  • Who’s Hiring list from the Illinois Retail Merchants Association. Illinois grocers throughout the state are looking to hire. Simply click on the name of the grocer and submit an application. Many are hiring on-the-spot.

Medical Professionals Needed – Governor Calls to Action through “Illinois Helps”

The state of Illinois is calling on physicians, nurses, physicians’ assistants, and respiratory therapists who left the healthcare field to reactivate their professional licenses and join the effort to save lives during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The state is streamlining the process for healthcare professionals who have retired or recently left the profession to reactive their licenses by:

  • Waving fees and expediting licensure for healthcare positions
  • Automatically extending licenses soon to expire
  • Making it easier for out-of-state healthcare professionals to practice here, that way border communities can deploy physicians where they are needed most

Reinstate your license:

Additional information can be found at www.IDFPR.com  or www.coronavirus.illinois.gov

By registering with Illinois Helps, an Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals (ESAR-VHP), you can be part of an alert system and respond if available, when activated, to a significant disaster or public health emergency. The link to Illinois Helps is: https://www.illinoishelps.net/

What is the Emergency System for Advanced Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals (ESAR-VHP)?

The mission of the ESAR-VHP program is to establish a national interoperable network of state based volunteer registration systems for managing volunteers at all tiers of response. Each system verifies the identity, credentials, certifications, licenses, and hospital privileges of health professionals who volunteer to provide health services during a public health emergency.Back to top

What is Illinois HELPS?

Your ESAR-VHP system is an initiative to pre-register, manage, and mobilize clinical and non-clinical volunteers to help in responding to all types of disasters. The volunteer management system is part of a nation-wide effort to make sure that volunteer professionals can be quickly identified and their credentials checked so that they can be properly utilized in response to a public health emergency or disaster.

Stay Connected!

Throughout the rest of this crisis, my office will only be offering remote constituent service. You can contact my office staff by calling 618-242-8115 or 618-684-1100 or emailing Bryant@ILHouseGOP.org.

Please stay safe and heed the warnings from elected officials. Together, we will get through this crisis and emerge stronger than ever. God bless you and your family and may God bless the United States of America and the State of Illinois.