Arizona employers received more than $7 billion in PPP loans. But what’s next?

Record case counts and the return of mandated closures threaten to erase the program’s gains

By Jake Steinberg | Arizona Republic

Arizona businesses large and small received over $7 billion through the Paycheck Protection Program, according to data released Monday by the Small Business Administration.

The program has been instrumental in reducing unemployment in the spring, when the economy tumbled and lockdown orders were at their most restrictive. But now as some businesses reach the end of their aid, record case counts and the return of mandated closures threaten to erase the program’s gains.

President Trump over the weekend signed a bill to extend the deadline to apply for the remaining $130 billion funds to Aug. 8. The loans are forgivable as long as employers spent at least 60% of the funds paying employees.

Most businesses in Tucson received their funds between late April and mid-May, according to Anthony Villari, a CPA for Essentage, which provides bookkeeping services to small businesses in Tucson. That means many are running out of funding at a critical time in the pandemic.

“I don’t think it’s going to have much of an impact in terms of helping the businesses once that money is spent out,” he said. “PPP was a small Band-Aid on a gushing wound.”

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