By Ashley Hinson
I don’t know about you, but when I heard federal aid was on the way to small businesses, I thought about mom and pop shops that make up 97% of Iowa businesses—not Shake Shack or Harvard University.
I am concerned, and frankly, outraged, by reports that show hundreds of millions of dollars of Paycheck Protection Program funds have been claimed by large, publicly traded companies.
According to Morgan Stanley , the U.S. government has allocated at least $243.4 million of the total $349 billion intended as relief to small businesses to publicly traded companies.
This is unacceptable. We need to be supporting small businesses that desperately need a few thousand dollars as lifeline to keep staff on payroll, not helping companies who have market values over $100 million.
How did this happen? Rather than processing Paycheck Protection Program applications on a first-come first-serve basis, reports show Big Banks have prioritized applications seeking higher loan amounts because processing those applications generated larger fees.
Taxpayers provided the money for the loans which were guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. This money belongs to taxpayers and it belongs to Iowa’s 264,384 small businesses who need it most.
As our representatives head back to Washington, I have a message for Congress: PPP should be a lifeline for small businesses, not a cash cow for big banks. The next round of relief funds passed by Congress must be focused on small businesses and include better oversight & transparency.
I also have a message for big banks and companies exploiting federal aid: Now is the time to act with grace, not greed. Banks should work in good faith to distribute additional rounds of funding to small businesses fairly and in accordance with laws and regulations.
As the wife of a small business owner and a representative who has fought for small businesses in the Iowa State House, I know that now more than ever small businesses need our help. Whether it’s local coffee shops, graphic design studios or family restaurants, small businesses make up the fabric of our communities and they drive our local economies.
Throughout this crisis, we must work together to make sure mom and pop shops across our country are given the support they need to stay afloat. Iowa small businesses are counting on it.
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