U. S. Representative Donald Payne Jr. (NJ-10th) provided an update to Maplewood constituents on May 5 with several public commenters beseeching him for help on SBA [Small Business Administration] loan forgiveness guidance related to COVID-19 stimulus aid.
Speaking at a virtual meeting of the Maplewood Township Committee, Payne detailed how he was working with the New Jersey delegation to secure relief for “the American people” and particularly his New Jersey constituents during the COVID-19 pandemic and resultant economic setbacks.
“We’ve done a lot but we need to do more,” said Payne, referring to two stimulus bills that have been passed thus far and work on a potential third bill.
Payne said that the he was working to ensure that the next portion of stimulus would aid state and local governments “and what this pandemic is going to do to their budgets.”
He said that letting states go bankrupt was “untenable, unacceptable rhetoric from the leader of the Senate” — Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
Payne said he would fight to ensure that money gets to small businesses like those in Maplewood Village, on Valley Street and on Springfield Avenue. He said that the second stimulus bill ensured that in part by including $60B for community lenders.
Payne asked residents to visit his website at payne.house.gov for links related to the stimulus funding and SBA loans and “on how to keep your family safe.” He also invited constituents to call his district office. “We’re there every day at 973-645-3213.”
Payne also noted that he was working on issues such as hazard pay for frontline workers, funding to aid victims of domestic violence, procuring additional health care supplies such as ventilators, promoting the 2020 U.S. Census, rental assistance, the SALT (state and local tax) deduction cap, mortgage assistance and more.
“We’re on the job to help you get what you need.”
What community members said they needed — in comments submitted virtually — was some clarity on whether or not they could accept their SBA loans and how they could ensure those loans would be forgiven.
Township Committee member Nancy Adams, who managed Summit Downtown Inc. asked about business interruption insurance, saying the state had tabled making insurance companies pay. “Can anything to be done on the federal level?” she asked.
Payne responded, “There might be opportunities but I couldn’t tell you tonight. Once again, contact my office and we will delve into it. We can send a letter of support to the governor to look at that issue and reconsider the stance the state is taking. I can only advocate as a citizen with my congressional letterhead. We can look to see if there is any relief on the federal level.”
Regarding the SBA loan forgiveness guidelines, Payne said that it “should not be difficult to get published” and that it might be a “matter of us going back and asking.” He said that his office could get citizens addresses, names and numbers and “connect them with the SBA to ask direct questions.”
Payne said that Michael Gray in his office would be available to help.
Another community member asked about independent contractors who were having difficulty getting unemployment: “They have applied. What can be done?”
Payne answered, “I’ll have to look into that” and that he was “not aware of any class of individuals who are not qualified for unemployment. We can definitely research that.”
Township Committee member Vic DeLuca asked Payne to sign on to sponsor HR 6467, funding appropriations for municipalities below 500,000. Payne said he would do so immediately.