As PPP loan money runs out, small business owners fear for their future

Many small businesses in New Jersey are struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

News 12 Staff

Apr 21, 2020, 2:20 AM

Updated 1,455 days ago

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Many small businesses in New Jersey are struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The federal Paycheck Protection Program was supposed to help the small business owns with forgivable loans to pay their employees through the crisis. But the money in that program has run out, leaving many owners fearing for their future.
“It’s like, ‘OK, they’re finally doing something for the really small businesses to survive. We’re the mom and pops. It was my dad’s business,” says Valerie Hufnagel with Hufnagel Landscape Design & Construction.
Hufnagel says that the hope of a PPP loan gave her room to breathe for a little while. But shortly after applying for the loan, she found out that the program was already out of money.
“I was so angry. Like, why? What is it? This is for us to have, to be able to carry on and get through this time,” she says.
She says that the loan would have covered the salaries of the employees that she was able to keep on. She says that not getting the loan for her business was hard enough. But then she heard that much larger businesses, - even national chains – received millions of dollars.
“I was personally asking for $159,000. That’s what would carry me. There were people doing a lot less. You could it to those people, as opposed to these companies getting tons and tons of millions.
The chain restaurant Shake Shack recently announced that it would give back $10 million in federal loans it received in the loan program.
Hufnagel says that she would like to see the federal government redefine what is a “small business” for the program. Currently, it is defined as a business with 500 or fewer employees. Hufnagel says that she would like to see it capped at 50 to 100 employees.
The Small Business Association says that 33,000 New Jersey businesses did get loans. Congress is also working on a bill to replenish the PPP and is expected to vote on it within the next few days.


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