RUSSELLS POINT— U.S. Sen. Rob Portman toured World Class Plastics on Monday to tout the success of the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which distributed more than $525 billion in forgivable loans to small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S.
The Republican senator also talked about the next coronavirus relief package that stalled before Congress left for August recess.
Portman anticipates a second round of PPP funding in the next coronavirus relief bill. But he said the loans, which are forgiven when a company spends at least 60% on payroll, will likely target companies that have lost at least 35% of revenue over the same quarter in 2019.
The program distributed anywhere from $119 million to $238 million to businesses in Allen County alone, according to PPP loan data reviewed by The Lima News.
World Class Plastics, the subject of Monday’s tour, received a loan of up to $1 million through the program, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The plastics fabrication company was able to recall workers the company had previously laid off with the loan.
Five months later, production is nearing normal levels.
“It saved us … Had we not had the PPP, it would have been bad,” said David Wisniewski, vice president of engineering for World Class Plastics. “It would have been really bad. We would have lost half or more of our associates, and quite possibly some of our customers would have been in trouble. We could have been in serious trouble.”
The next relief package may extend federal unemployment assistance, which ended on July 25 for Ohioans, but Republicans and Democrats have not reached an agreement on how much jobless aid to offer amid the pandemic. Ohio unemployment insurance is 50% of a person’s weekly wage, although program caps mean some displaced workers see less than half of their previous earnings.
Under the CARES Act, the federal government boosted unemployment insurance by $600 per week to replace all or most of a person’s lost wages at a time when most businesses were shut down.
Negotiations in Congress broke down in part because of disagreements between Republicans and Democrats over whether the federal government’s assistance to displaced workers should continue at $600 per week, which Portman argued on Monday was too high and would hinder hiring, or a lesser figure.
“There is another number between $0 and $600 that works,” Portman said. “The president has proposed $300. That’s probably about right to enable to those people who really don’t have a place to go back to, to get themselves at least through this year so they can put food on the table and make it through.”