Tester Pushes Administration to Cut Red Tape for Small Business Relief Program

Senator: “We must do all we can to make sure our small businesses have the support and assistance they need to weather the crisis”

As businesses across Montana continue to cope with coronavirus fallout, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is pushing to cut red tape for a critical small business relief program.

Tester urged Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Small Business Administration chief Jovita Carranza to streamline the cumbersome and complex forgiveness application for the smallest businesses participating in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provides loans to help keep employees on the payroll.

“Since the release of the forgiveness form and instructions a few weeks ago, we have heard significant concerns from small businesses and lenders alike about the complexity of the process, especially for small businesses,” Tester and a group of his colleagues wrote. “The 11-page form that must be completed to secure forgiveness is especially burdensome, time-consuming, and costly for very small and underserved businesses, including microbusinesses, sole proprietorships, rural, and minority-owned small businesses.”

Specifically, Tester’s letter called for a streamlined process for low-dollar loan forgiveness, enhanced guidance for lenders, and online tools and resources to help borrowers navigate the forgiveness process.

“In this public health and economic emergency, we must do all we can to make sure our small businesses have the support and assistance they need to weather the crisis,” Tester and his colleagues continued. “…We have a chance to improve the PPP forgiveness process now for these small businesses to ensure the program works as intended.”

Since the PPP – a critical lifeline intended to help small businesses keep the lights on – was created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Senator Tester has fought to improve the program so that more Montana main street businesses receive the support they need. Tester successfully secured expansions to the PPP allowing electric co-ops and rural hospitals to qualify for relief, and to expand flexibility for Montana’s seasonal businesses and workers.

Tester’s letter is available HERE.

Visit tester.senate.gov/coronavirusresources for a list of resources for Montanans during the COVID-19 outbreak.