With nearly $26B for NJ businesses, window closes for federal PPP loans

Daniel J. Munoz//June 2, 2021

With nearly $26B for NJ businesses, window closes for federal PPP loans

Daniel J. Munoz//June 2, 2021

With New Jersey businesses having received $25.7  billion in federal forgivable loans under a COVID-relief program for businesses, the Biden administration announced June 1 that it officially closed the window for new applications.

Funds have run out for the federal loan program, known as the Paycheck Protection Program, and the White House and Congress would need to authorize more funding.

The program was created in March 2020 under the Trump administration, when COVID-19 closures meant to halt the spread of the virus triggered the nation’s worst economic conditions since the Great Depression.

Currently, the U.S. Small Business Administration, which oversees the PPP program, is focusing its efforts on a grant program for pandemic-hit restaurants, and another for live venues that have suffered from the pandemic and related business closures.

An estimated 8.5 million businesses across the nation have gotten a PPP loan. The SBA approved 157,405 forgivable loans totaling $17.3 billion in 2020, and in 2021 approved 134,362 loans totaling roughly $8 billion.

“I’ve heard story after story from small business owners across the country about how PPP funds helped them keep the lights on, pay their employees — and gave them hope,” reads a June 1 statement from SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman.

“[M]illions of underserved businesses – particularly our smallest businesses and those owned by women and people of color – were left out of early rounds of relief,” she continued. “I’m proud of the work we did to begin to rectify these inequities.”

State lawmakers are rushing ahead another $200 million in small business grants, on top of $85 million being currently doled out by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

Those funds are aimed at holding over businesses as the state navigates the final business closures and the potential tail end of the pandemic. And most of them have come out of the state’s allocation under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which former President Donald Trump approved in 2020.

The state agency has awarded $250 million worth of grants, loans and other aid to a combined 55,000 businesses in the past year, according to state figures.