Missoula Current: Tester, Daines back legislation to provide loan forgiveness to small businesses

Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines are backing bipartisan legislation that would ensure small businesses receive loan forgiveness for emergency grants provided earlier this year to offset the impacts of the pandemic on small businesses.

The legislation would ensure that those who received an “advance grant” under the Emergency Injury Disaster Loan program aren’t punished when calculating their Paycheck Protection Program forgiveness.

Tester said some small businesses still face unexpected loan balances under the PPP effort. As it stands, a business that received an advance grant and a PPP loan will see the grant subtracted from the PPP forgiveness.

“Montana’s small businesses and the good paying jobs they create are the backbone of our economy,” said Tester. “We made a promise to these businesses at the beginning of this crisis that their emergency injury disaster loans would be forgiven, and we’ve got to keep our word and protect local jobs and economies by making them whole.”

Under the Phase I COVID-19 legislative package signed into law in early March, the Small Business Administration issued an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration, making loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations.

The advance grants were small advances on those loans and were intended to be distributed quickly to support businesses as the pandemic swept across the country.

If approved, the legislation would provide loan forgiveness for the advance grants.

“Montana small businesses and our local community banks have been drastically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. They need relief to help protect jobs and workers, not unnecessary loans and payments during these hard times,” Daines said.