Dear APAP Members and Colleagues,
I hope this message finds you safe and well during this holiday season.
The good news emerging from Capitol Hill couldn't come a moment too soon.
Just last night, the Senate passed the long-awaited and desperately needed $900 billion COVID Relief package. While the President is expected to sign it into law today, we want to share with you a few highlights. The bill includes:
$15 billion in dedicated SBA grant support for eligible live venue operators or promoters, theatrical producers, live performing arts organizations, museum operators, motion picture theater operators and talent representatives. $2 billion of these funds are reserved for entities with 50 or fewer FTE employees. Priority in the first 14 days are given to those businesses who have faced 90% or more of losses of earned revenue. Priority for the next 14 days are given to those companies who faced 70% or more of losses of earned revenue. 20% Funding reserve for applications after these two 14-day priority periods for the hardest-hit companies. Special formula allowances available for seasonal businesses. Specific eligibility and terms can be viewed on page 2124 of the bill text.
This unprecedented amount for the live arts was shaped by the "Save Our Stages" campaign, led by the National Independent Venue Association and endorsed early and championed repeatedly by APAP for the support it can give a range of APAP members.
$284 billion for first and second forgivable loans under the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) remains available for Schedule C gig and self-employed workers, non-profits and corporations with a maximum of 300 employees and revenue loss of 25% or more. Also, it includes dedicated set-asides for smaller-sized businesses and increased lending through community-based financial institutions and financial institutions that serve minority communities.
$20 billion to replenish new Economic Industry Disaster Loans (EIDL) Advances through the Small Business Administration
Extended pandemic unemployment benefits for all, including the self-employed, gig workers, and others in non-traditional employment.
$25 billion in Rental Assistance for individuals who lost their income due to the pandemic. Additionally, Eviction Protection would be extended to January 31, 2021.
$68 billion to purchase and distribute COVID-19 vaccines and to states for COVID-19 vaccines, testing, tracing, and mitigation programs.
$167 million for the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, with priority for providing services or awarding financial assistance for projects, productions, workshops, or programs that serve underserved populations and $30.5 million (an increase of $500,000) for the federal Arts In Education grant program.
Extended and expanded refundable Employee Retention Tax Credits.
Extended enhanced Charitable Giving Incentives, including the $300 above-the-line charitable tax deduction to now allow a $600 deduction for taxpayers filing jointly instead of limiting it to only $300 per tax return.
We will share more information as it becomes available in the coming weeks on eligibility and application processes.
Alongside our colleagues in the Cultural Advocacy Group and Performing Arts Alliance, APAP has been advocating on your behalf for COVID relief for many months, taking into account the wide range of needs among APAP members as well as the breadth of the membership itself. Here is a summary of APAP's advocacy work.
APAP continues our work with our industry partners to advance policy priorities that support the creative sector as we look forward to 2021 and advise a new administration and a new Congress. The field has come to a critical moment where for-profits and nonprofits are marching together. I firmly believe this is essential to our success. Though we are an ecosystem with diverse business models, with a cohesive message, we are strong, and we are one.
Thank you to each and every one of you who has been with us in this process, for every call, every email, every signature. The work doesn't stop here. We are stronger together.
Lisa Richards Toney
President and CEO, APAP