2021 Year-End Report & Holiday Message

December 23, 2020

*Below is a message from NSBA President and CEO Todd McCracken

With 2020 nearly over, I want to first thank you for your resilience in a year that has wreaked havoc on normalcy from the highest levels of government to daily tasks like a simple staff meeting. This has been a year unlike that any of us have ever seen, kicked off by a raging pandemic forcing closures at businesses, schools and beyond and ending with an ugly and contested presidential election—and that still, ever-present pandemic. This year has been hard on us all.

I want you to know that you’re not alone. Many of you have had to completely reimagine how you work—even what it is your business does and sells. NSBA has had to pivot from leading policy discussions on ensuring the long-term viability of being an entrepreneur and small-business owner to leading the charge on ensuring the small businesses that line our streets today are still here in a year. Many of you have had to lay-off or furlough employees – NSBA staff also went through a 4-month furlough. We’ve all tightened belts, made cuts where possible and done everything in our power to ensure we can continue our mission: supporting our communities through your small business, and through our small-business advocacy.

This year has been hard. However, we’re still here, YOU are still here. NSBA has been fighting the good fight and has even had a few wins along the way—thanks to you. I think that, while it is important to acknowledge how truly happy we all are to toss the 2020 calendars, what makes America’s small-business community so special in normal times has made us downright imperative this year. Your ingenuity, persistence, drive, concern for and contribution to your communities in the last 9 months has cemented “small business” as one of the things every American truly cares about. And while there are undoubtedly many challenges ahead of us—particularly in the coming six months—I hope you join me in feeling a glimmer of hope that we can get through this.

The end of the year is always a good time to take stock. It’s been a hard year, but we’ve accomplished some hard tasks.

CARES Act & Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

NSBA was the ONLY small-business group in the room at Senatorial briefings back in late-March to discuss the CARES Act. I personally spoke to Sen. Marco Rubio—Chair of the Senate Small Business Committee and chief architect of the PPP—and his staff throughout the crafting of the bill to offer NSBA’s insight and expertise on how best to help small business throughout the pandemic. NSBA has established an outstanding reputation on Capitol Hill as a nonpartisan, member-driven, experienced advocate for small business. That reputation is what we work so hard for—and our work in helping craft the CARES Act and PPP is the perfect example of why we do what we do. Our pragmatic, non-political approach to advocacy makes us the go-to organization for politicians when it comes to legislating.

Paycheck Protection Program Fixes

The PPP loan program roll-out was complicated, confusing for borrowers and lenders, and funds ran out quickly. NSBA urged lawmakers to enact additional legislation to expand and improve the program, and on June 5, President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (Phase 3.5). That legislation made the following fixes NSBA urged: increased the appropriations for the PPP for small business loans by $310 billion, from $349 billion to $659 billion total; provided an additional $10 billion for Emergency EIDL Grants; change the program sunset date from June 30 to Dec. 31, 2020; extend the rehiring deadline for loan forgiveness from 8 to 24 weeks; lengthen the loan maturity date from 2 to 5 years; extend the rehiring deadline to align with the expiration of enhanced Unemployment Insurance; lower the forgiveness payroll expenses threshold from 75 percent to 60 percent; and provide a “Borrower’s Choice” provision, which allows those who received PPP loans prior to enactment to choose for the covered period of their loan to either last 8 weeks or 24 weeks from origination.

Pandemic Related Sick Pay

Intended to help workers, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) bill required all small businesses to provide employees with 10 days of fully paid sick leave, and up to 12 weeks of family leave at two-thirds pay. NSBA raised concerns with the massive new burden this would place on small business and was successful in getting lawmakers to both scale-back some of the employer mandates and include a 100 percent tax credit for the cost of its paid sick and family leave mandates.

Income Tax Payments Extended

Among the various relief provisions NSBA touted, the IRS in March announced they would extend the due date for Federal income tax, penalty and certain corporate tax payments from April 15 to July 15, 2020.

U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)

NSBA urged policymakers throughout deliberations over the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement to include a small-business specific chapter to promote small-business trade internationally. As agreed upon, this chapter of the USMCA promotes the growth of small and medium-size businesses, and establishes the “Committee on SME issues.” On July 1, the USMCA agreement went into full effect with many promising provisions aimed directly at bolstering American small- and mid-sized businesses (SMEs).

COVID Relief Bill

Though still not signed by the President, the bill approved broadly in the House and Senate would provide another round of stimulus, and specifically, launches another round of PPP loans. This new round incorporates many of the fixes NSBA has been calling for, and also re-focuses the program on the small businesses that need it most.

PPP Deductibility

Included in the most recent COVID Relief Bill is full deductibility for otherwise allowable expenses using PPP funds, regardless of loan forgiveness. This has been a major issue NSBA has been working on and is pleased to see Congress explicitly spell-out how these loans have always been intended to be treated for tax purposes.

NSBA Outreach

  • COVID Resource Page – NSBA developed a one-stop-shop resource page with daily—if not hourly—updates, fact sheets, podcasts and briefing calls and much more. We continue to provide critical updates and have an upcoming webinar planned for Jan. 6 to discuss the next round of PPP lending.
  • Telling the Small Business Story – NSBA has connected members to various briefing calls with the President and senior Administration officials, has remained in close contact with Congress, the White House and SBA throughout the pandemic and has represented small business through many high-profile media interviews.
  • NSBA Data – NSBA has conducted widely-touted polls and surveys throughout the pandemic to provide real-time insight into how small business is faring. And while our data has been pandemic-heavy, we didn’t forget that 2020 was an election year. As such, we provided our biennial Politics of Small Business Survey here.
  • Corporate Partnerships – NSBA has cultivated key relationships with many corporate partners aiming to support small businesses throughout the pandemic. These partners have provided resources at a time when it has been critical to the organization and our small-business members and I’d like to extend a special thanks to them: Dell, Cisco, RingCentral, Syntrio, GoSite, eFile4biz, UPS and Nationwide.

There is still much to do, including rolling-back passage of the Corporate Transparency Act, which was included as part of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which will require ONLY the smallest businesses to file new reports and register significant personal identifying information for all owners. All information that’s already being collected, but this  new provision is massively burdensome and comes with civil penalties of $500 per day up to $10,000 and criminal penalties of up to 4 years in prison for noncompliance.

As you know, COVID has overshadowed—not erased—many of the problems you face on a daily basis: health care costs continue to skyrocket; regulatory and paperwork burdens are a major hurdle to running your business; capital availability has been, and is increasingly limited for many small businesses; cybersecurity is a major issue facing not only your small business, but the security of our nation; and much more. While we have all been rightfully preoccupied with surviving the pandemic, I assure you that these issues are on our radar, and we will continue fighting on your behalf.

As we wrap-up 2020 (or gleefully kick it to the curb), I would like to our send best wishes to you and your family, and your employees and their families, for a safe and happy holiday season from NSBA staff and leadership.

Our goal for 2021: onward.