THIS WEEK'S NEWSLETTER PRESENTED BY:
ARE YOU USING YOUR TAX DEDUCTION?
Looking for a tax deduction to ring out 2020?

Your Blount County Chamber Membership fee is 85% tax deductible.

85% tax deductible
Return your invoice today to receive your tax deduction.
 
Offer Expires: Dec. 31, 2020
PANDEMIC RELIEF PACKAGE
Yesterday evening, President Trump signed a pandemic relief and government-funding measure totaling approximately $900 billion to assist in delivering emergency aid into 2021.

What is included the legislation?

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

Funding for the PPP program, which was first appropriated under the CARES Act, will be resumed and allocated in the amount of almost $300 billion. Businesses who have taken advantage of the program previously will be eligible for second round loans. For months, the Chamber has advocated for deductibility of costs covered by PPP loans. Under the legislation, Congress clarified that PPP recipients might take advantage of the deduction if they experienced a revenue loss in 2020 compared to previous years.

To learn more about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) click here to determine qualifications, etc. 

Inclusion of 501(c)(6) Organizations
 
501(c)(6) organizations will be eligible for the next round of PPP loans. In Tennessee, these include membership-based associations and nonprofits such as local chambers of commerce and trade associations. The legislation applies to 501(c)(6) organizations with 300 or fewer employees that do not spend more than 15% on lobbying.

*We are working with the U.S. Chamber to schedule a virtual meeting about 501(c)(6) inclusion and answer questions. Tentative date - January 7, 2021


Testing and Vaccines

Nearly $50 million will be appropriated for testing and vaccination programs. $20 billion will be directed to providing increased testing and $28 billion to procuring and distributing vaccinations across the country.


2020 State CARES Act Spending Extension

Following passage of the CARES Act, Tennessee received $2.36 billion to spend within the state, specifically on pandemic relief. Funding has been directed at programs like SERG and the Tennessee Small Business Relief Fund. They have also been used to target relief for Tennessee nonprofits. Perhaps most importantly to the Tennessee business community, the Lee Administration has directed funding to keep the state’s unemployment trust fund balance above the tax triggering threshold which would impose increased taxes on Tennessee businesses.

The CARES Act specifically stipulates that state relief dollars should be spent by December 31, 2020. Under the legislation passed on Monday, Tennessee will have the option to spend the balance of unspent CARES Act appropriations through December 31, 2021.


Enhanced Unemployment Benefits

Sides agreed on a $300 per week enhanced federal unemployment benefit. This means qualifying Tennessee recipients could be eligible for up to $575 per week after Tennessee’s unemployment benefit is applied. It is believed allocations for this program could extend enhanced benefits through mid-March and will become available as early as next week. The agreement is a decrease from the expired $600 federal benefit offered under the CARES Act.

Individual Stimulus

The legislation lays out appropriations and a framework to send $600 to every adult and every child. This relief check will be half of the $1,200 which was provided to Americans under the CARES Act, but still falls short of what some, including President Trump would like. The $600 direct payment will only be provided to individuals with an annual income under $75,000. Direct payment amounts will be tiered down for those earning more and are completely eliminated for anyone earning $100,000 or greater.

Overall, the recovery package is attached to $1.4 trillion congressional omnibus funding legislation that will keep the government open and operating until October. After appropriated, the United States government will have spent more than $4 trillion in response to COVID-19 pandemic relief. It is expected President Trump will sign the full package into law this evening.
RESTAURANT RECOVERY PROGRAM
Cafe
The Restaurant Recovery program is a 4-week virtual course for owners and operators of restaurants and foodservice businesses. It provides the tools and resources to help adjust restaurant business models in response to the global pandemic and customers’ changing needs and expectations. 

Those who sign up will take part in twice-weekly 90-minute webinars that will be taught in cohorts by industry experts, and each participant will have the opportunity to receive one-on-one coaching and have access to industry and subject-matter experts, such as attorneys and accountants, while also attaining tools and resources to navigate the road forward. 

Topics covered in the sessions include navigating risks and regulations, managing menu and supply chain, optimizing marketing efforts and channels, employee management, plus more.

Interested restaurant professionals can learn more about the program and submit an application at https://www.proofincubator.com/knoxville. Applications must be submitted by Jan. 15, 2021, and the kickoff webinar for the series is slated to begin on Jan. 26, 2021. 
MLK CELEBRATION SET
Since 1982, Martin Luther King Jr. Day/Weekend in Blount County has brought prominent speakers and performers to our celebrations, introduced new issues and perspectives to attendees, and brought people together in important and inspiring ways.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 weekend celebration cannot include the events our community looks forward to attending every year, but we do plan to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy on Monday, January 18, with a schedule that prioritizes the health and safety of participants.

We ask that you put these events on your calendar and make plans to participate:
  • The MLK Day march will start at 12:45 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center on Franklin Street in Alcoa. Marchers will process southeast on Hall Road toward Washington Street, taking a right onto East Lamar Alexander Parkway and ending at the Greenbelt Pavilion near the Blount County Courthouse. Assembly for the march will begin at 12:30 p.m.
  • Following the march, a brief program will be held at the West Theatre in the Park next to the pavilion. At this program, which will begin at 2 p.m., the MLK Day Celebration Committee will recognize the march’s grand marshal and the recipients of the Anthony Dunnings Community Service Award and the MLK Celebration Scholarship presented by DENSO Manufacturing.

Participants will be required to follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines for virus mitigation, including physical distancing and wearing face coverings. A limited number of masks will be provided.
 
We appreciate your support in recent years and look forward to communicating with you again as we plan future MLK Weekend Celebrations.
LOOKING TO GET INVOLVED
If you've been wanting to host a coffee and the waiting list was too long, why not get on the list to sponsor one of our virtual coffee clubs in 2021?

Benefits of attending virtual networking:
  • Meet others that you may not have met at an in-person coffee.
  • Extend your reach outside of driving area.
  • Meet members located outside the county.
  • Multiple opportunities to meet others in smaller group breakout rooms.

Contact Jessica Hahn at jhahn@blountpartnership.com  
JOIN THE MAP PROJECT
Believe it or not, people still use paper maps.

That's why the Blount County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to be partnering with the award-winning marketing and cartographic team of Town Square Publications to produce our Community Street Map and Resource Guide. This publication will help you market your business directly to area business owners, new residents and visitors for the next 18-24 months. Over 10,000 copies will be distributed via the Chamber of Commerce and through 150+ high traffic distribution points.

Advertising your business and our community via this print and online publication is very economical, but space is limited. A Town Square Publications representative will be contacting you soon but please don’t hesitate to reach your representative by calling the sales and marketing team directly at (865) 221-8877 or email marketing@tspubs.com to review the details and options.
MAKE A BREAKFAST DATE
STEP UP YOUR NETWORKING GAME
The January 29 edition of soft skills classes offered by the Blount County Public Library is quickly approaching.

This Zoom Webinar session is entitled "Networking Strategically." Build a network that is beneficial and strategic. Learn how to avoid networking traps and break out of the mold in order to advance project and professional goals.

All participants will earn .5 CEUs per session for participating. They will also receive an email survey two months after workshop participation to assess application of new ideas.

WEBINAR CALENDAR
The Tennessee Small Business Development Center is hosting a myriad of online training webinars to assist you in all facets of your businesses. Take advantage of training opportunities with the SBDC at no cost.

January 19 from 9-10:30 a.m.
WHAT'S HAPPENING?
January 4-10

January 11-17
January 13 -- Maximize Your Membership

Save the Date

BE SURE YOU'RE FOLLOWING US
If you aren't following us on social media, you must. We are constantly updating information as each day progresses. So, give us a like and stay up-to-date as we move through this crisis.
 
 
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REMEMBER WHEN . . .
Topping the Billboard Hot 100 this week in 1976 was "Tonight's the Night" by Rod Stewart. It held top for eight consecutive weeks until January, 8 1977.
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