Chamber Connections BLOG
Chamber Connections BLOG
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans Available in Rhode Island Following Secretary of Agriculture Disaster Declaration for Drought Beginning Sept. 29
Disaster Field Operations Center East
Release Date: Oct. 22, 2020 Contact: Michael Lampton (404) 331-0333
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans Available in Rhode Island Following Secretary of
Agriculture Disaster Declaration for Drought Beginning Sept. 29
The U.S. Small Business Administration announced today that Economic Injury Disaster
Loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in
aquaculture, and private nonprofit organizations in Providence County in Rhode Island as a result of
drought that began on Sept. 29, 2020.
“This county is eligible because it is contiguous to one or more primary counties in Massachusetts. The Small Business Administration recognizes that disasters do not usually stop at county or state lines. For that reason, counties adjacent to primary counties named in the declaration are included,” said Michael Lampton, acting director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East.
Under this declaration, the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to eligible farmrelated and nonfarm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster.
Except for aquaculture enterprises, SBA cannot provide disaster loans to agricultural producers,
farmers and ranchers. Nurseries are eligible to apply for economic injury disaster loans for losses
caused by drought conditions.
The loan amount can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 3 percent for small businesses and 2.75 percent for private nonprofit organizations of all sizes, with terms up to 30 years. The SBA determines eligibility based on the size of the applicant, type of activity and its financial resources. Loan amounts
and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition. These working
capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits.
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at
DisasterLoan.sba.gov and should apply under SBA declaration # 16733, not for the COVID-19 incident.
Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer
Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov. Loan applications can be downloaded from sba.gov/disaster.
Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and
Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
Submit completed loan applications to SBA no later than June 15, 2021.
Revenue Estimating Conference Begins
It is that time of year, when the Revenue Estimating Council begins its work to determine how much the State might have in revenues and fixed expenses for the next fiscal year. The Council is comprised of the House and Senate fiscal staff members, and the Governor’s Department of Revenue staff. This group will take testimony, debate and eventually come to a consensus which will obviously be more difficult this year given the pandemic.
Last week the Council heard from HIS Markit, a firm that provides economic forecasting analysis for the US and the State of Rhode Island. Between February of 2020 and April of 2020, Rhode Island nonfarm payrolls “plummeted by 98,100” people. Unemployment jumped from 3.4% in February to 18.1% in April. The state experienced the 7th largest decline in nonfarm payrolls in the country and the 4th highest unemployment rate. Since April, there has been a steady increase in payrolls (57,700) and a decrease in unemployment (10.5%). Personal income did grow during the second quarter of 2020; however, a large part of the personal income growth came from the stimulus money and the COVID-19 unemployment program.
The tricky part comes in forecasting what may happen. HIS Markit assumptions include the passage of some type of stimulus package at the federal level. They believe the timing will depend on the outcome of the Presidential election. If President Trump is re-elected, they believe the stimulus package will pass in 2020. If Vice President Biden is elected, they believe Congress will wait until he takes office to pass a package. The Revenue Estimating Conference members asked HIS Markit to provide an updated analysis that assumes no package is forthcoming, so that the members can see what that economy might look like under that scenario.
Given the current assumptions, HIS Markit is forecasting nonfarm payrolls to decline 1.9% in FY2021, grow 3.5% in FY2022 and increase 2.2% in FY2023. That means Rhode Island’s economy would return to pre-COVID peak nonfarm employment in the second half of FY2023. Real gross state product would return to peak pre-COVID rate in late FY2022. And the State unemployment rate remains above 6% until the final quarter of FY2022. Again, this forecast is based on an assumption of the passage of some type of stimulus package – most likely a household stimulus check and an ongoing unemployment benefit program of $300 a week (instead of $600). The forecast includes an increase in personal income of 2.6% in FY 2021 due to those programs, a decrease of 0.9% in FY2022 as those programs phase out, and a 4% increase in personal income in FY2023 as the State’s economy recovers.
One interesting takeaway: across the United States, consumer spending on durable goods are above the pre-pandemic trend. HIS Markit believes many people spent their stimulus checks on large items like cars, recreational vehicles and large household items. These items are not quickly replaced, so predicting what individuals might do with another stimulus check is difficult.
The Rhode Island presentation can be viewed at http://www.rilegislature.gov/Special/rcc/REC%20Files/IHS%20RhodeIsland_Nov2020.pdf
The US presentation (which includes an analysis of Vice President Biden’s economic proposal) can be viewed at http://www.rilegislature.gov/Special/rcc/REC%20Files/IHS%20US_Nov2020_UPDATED.pdf
The remainder of the Revenue Estimating Conference Hearing Schedule is as follows:
Thursday, October 29, 2020
Testimony (if necessary)
9:00 AM Cash Assistance and Medical Caseloads –
Department of Human Services and Executive Office of Health and Human Services
Monday, November 2, 2020
9:00 A.M. Caseload Estimating Conference
2:00 P.M. Tax Collections – Department of Revenue, Division of Taxation Neena Savage, State Tax Administrator
Accruals – Accounts and Controls Peter Keenan, State Controller
Wednesday, November 4, 2020
1:00 P.M Tax Collections – Department of Revenue, Division of Taxation Neena Savage, State Tax Administrator
Friday, November 6, 2020 – Revenue Estimate 9:00 A.M. Revenue Estimating Conference
Sunday, October 25, 2020
Hosted by Discover Warren, The Collaborative 02885 and Made in Warren
Warren's annual Walkabout looks a little different this year. We're spreading the fun out over six Sundays -- masks and social distancing required! Head downtown to enjoy our historic waterfront village and all the art, food, shopping, and fun, each Sunday starting at noon. Details will be revealed as each Sunday approaches, so stay tuned!
Last Week At the State House
The House Finance Committee met last week to discuss the preliminary closing of the FY2020 books and to understand what further adjustments might be coming in the near future. Keep in mind that as this article talks about numbers, the comparisons are made to assumptions that were made as to what might happen given the COVID-19 potential effects on revenues and expenditures for the year.
As of now, it appears that revenues are up $141.8 million from the anticipated amount adopted at the May revenue estimating conference. Good news - income and sales tax revenues account for $132.5 million of that number. Remember, at the time of May revenue estimating conference, income taxes were delayed until July due to a federal order, so it was extremely difficult to accurately predict how the income tax would ultimately be affected by job losses as well as stimulus packages. The business tax revenue was higher than expected; and the lottery also brought in a little more than estimated. After all is said and done – in the aggregate – the closing revenue and expenses (which were lower than anticipated) came close to the budget passed over a year ago. Further adjustments will have to be made to the FY2020 books as items, like the excess loss for pass-through entities, are finalized and the numbers changed accordingly. (Reminder - the $120 million from the Rainy Day Fund must be re-paid in FY2021)
Medicaid spending experienced a $37 million savings thanks to a reduction in enrollment and utilization during the pandemic. The federal government’s extension of the emergency designation also means a higher Medicaid reimbursement rate to the State for three-quarters of a year, so that should bring Rhode Island an additional $25-30 million.
The federal government also provided some additional flexibility in the CARES Act money to cover certain Department of Corrections expenses. It is believed that this may free up another $30 to $40 million to cover budget items. However, that is the only new flexibility mentioned at this time. That still leaves millions of dollars in a State account with great uncertainty as to how it can be spent. The directive also still states that the money must be spent by December 30th or be returned to the federal government. The challenge remains, does Rhode Island spend the money on immediate programs only to find out later that it could be used to balance a FY2021 budget that will undoubtedly be more difficult than the current budget? Does the State save the money and the federal government say that it can’t be used to balance a future budget leaving the State with a missed opportunity to keep some business afloat or to assist in the State’s unemployment fund problem?
One interesting side note worth mentioning, the CARES Act money has earned about $400,000 in interest for the State. That money appears to be useable, without strings. Another sobering moment from the hearing came from the House Fiscal Advisor Sharon Reynolds stating that Rhode Island is “on track to run out of money if we fail to pass a budget before the end of the fiscal year.” That is why the legislature is expected to return in November to address the budget.
Next steps – State agencies were required to submit their FY2021 budget requests by October 1st. Agency first quarter financial reports are due October 30th. The Revenue Estimating Conference will meet November 2nd to review FY2021 caseload estimates (expenses), and November 6th to review FY2021 revenue estimates. These meetings could be very helpful to the legislature as they return in November to pass a FY2021 budget. The Governor is then required by law to submit her FY2022 budget to the legislature January 21, 2021.
This Week At the State House
At the time this edition of UTD is being written, no hearings were scheduled for this week.
Last Week At the State House
Electric Vehicles Pushed for Rhode Island
The Governor’s Mobility Innovation Working Group is moving forward with what appears to be plans on how to best spend dollars that will be collected should the regional TCI program move forward. TCI is the cap and trade program for carbon brought into the state via gasoline and diesel fuel. As reported in previous editions of UTD, TCI is expected to cost motorists millions of dollars which will be seen at the pump – not as a tax added, but as an increase in fuel price paid. This is a regional proposal with up to 13 states as possible participants.
The Mobility Innovation Working Group is comprised of 12 representatives from state government agencies and 15 stakeholders. The stakeholders include: AAA Northeast, Amtrak, SPIN, Utilidata, Inc., Bank Newport, Grow Smart RI, Banneker Supply Chain Solutions, City of Providence, National Grid, Alliance for Automotive Innovation, NE Clean Energy Council, RI League of Cities and Towns, Teamsters Local 251, Waterson Terminal Services (ProvPort) and Acadia Center RI.
DEM has hired Cambridge Systematics to perform modeling for the Working Group. Their job, with the help of the working group members, is to develop a list of strategies to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, “bundle [the list] into investment portfolios”, analyze the portfolios for benefit impact and then help the Group choose in which investment portfolio to invest state dollars. The Group is charged with making a final report to the Governor by the end of the year.
So, what are some of the items on the list of potential investments? The list is large at this point and includes: rebates/incentives for purchasing electric vehicles, installation of public charging stations, priority parking spaces for electric vehicles, changing zoning laws to require electric vehicle supply equipment, investment in electricity grid improvements, installing charging stations at business locations, subsidizing RIPTA and revamping the system to encourage ridership, altering land use strategies to reduce travel, investment in bike paths, transfer of development rights of land to encourage smart growth, investments in pedestrian pathways, etc. The idea which garnered the most discussion was the transition of public fleets and private vehicles to electric vehicles. Since California Governor adopted an executive order banning the sale of any vehicle that is not zero-emission (basically an electric vehicle mandate) starting 2035, this issue will continue to be in the forefront of many discussions here in Rhode Island. The question that has not been answered yet is how Rhode Island could shift that much increased electricity demand to the grid that now generates more than 95% of its electricity through the use of natural gas.
Another one of the ideas discussed was to work with businesses to educate and encourage employees to rideshare to work.
The Working Group will be meeting again November 15, 2020. However, they also announced that they will be holding a “public input meeting” October 22, 2020. Anyone who wishes to make an oral comment, of three minutes or less, must send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org by October 14, 2020. Written comments can also be forwarded to the same email address. It is a little unclear what comments are being solicited, since last week’s meeting was more about brainstorming investment ideas for TCI monies collected if and when that program comes to fruition. Members of the actual Working Group will be permitted to verbally provide comments for five to ten minutes at the October 22nd meeting.
This Week At the State House
As expected, the Senate Finance Committee will meet Wednesday at 4:00pm to take testimony surrounding the Governor’s request to amend Article 8 (Tax Article of the budget). The amendment seeks to decouple Rhode Island tax law from the federal excess loss deduction found in 26 U.S.C. section 461(1)(1)(B) in tax years 2018-2020. Members of the public wishing to testify may submit written testimony to: SLegislation@rilegislature.gov
(The following information was provided in last week’s UTD and is copied here for your use)
As background, prior to 2017, individual taxpayer’s excess business losses (pass-through entities) could deduct the total amount of loss in the year the loss was incurred, regardless of the amount of loss. In December of 2017, Congress passed the Tax Cut and Jobs Act which changed the federal tax code to only allow deductions for excess loss up to $250,000 for an individual/$500,000 for joint filers. Any losses incurred over and above that amount could be included in future tax filings as a loss. When Congress passed the CARESAct this year, it suspended the cap on excess business losses for pass through entities, for the years 2018, 2019 and 2020. This was a retroactive change to the federal tax code. Some businesses may have filed amended returns already to take advantage of the federal change.
During the Rhode Island May Revenue Estimating Conference, this issue was raised, but the Department of Revenue (DOR) was unable, at that time, to predict the State’s revenue implications as a result of the federal change. Rhode Island is one of the states that – for the most part – piggy backs state taxes on federal income calculations. So, any change in federal income tax law, affects state tax collections. Since May, DOR has been working to determine the impacts of the CARESAct change. DOR believes 692 tax returns would be impacted should Rhode Island decouple and push off the retroactive tax change to future years. Four hundred eighty-one (481) of those returns come from individuals with more than $1 million in federal adjusted gross income. One hundred two (102) returns come from individuals with AGI of $250,000 to $1 million; and 109 returns have AGI of under $250,000. While a majority of the returns are tied to non-residents, 80% of the refunds would go to Rhode Island residents because out of state filers must pay their own state income tax first then pay the remaining amount owed (according to Rhode Island law) to the state of Rhode Island.
DOR believes that if the Governor’s amendment is not passed, then the State will experience an $18.8 million decrease in state revenue in FY2020 and $10.3 million in FY2021. If the amendment is passed, then the impact to State revenue would be $0 in FY2020, $0 in FY2021 and a reduction of $5.8 million a year from FY2022-FY2026.
One alternative discussed was the possibility of decoupling the excess loss provision in the current fiscal year instead of going retroactive to 2018 like the CARESAct. The Division of Taxation asked for some time to consider that possibility from a technical capability view.
If this proposed amendment would affect you, please let the Chamber know.
The House Finance Committee will be meeting to accept a report reviewing the FY2020 Preliminary Closing Results. The meeting will take place at 4:00pm, Thursday October 8th and can be viewed on Cox Channels 15 and 61, in high definition on Cox Channel 1061, on Full Channel on Channel 15 and on Channel 34 by Verizon subscribers. It will also be live streamed at http://ritv.devosvideo.com/show?video=cd679c40105a . This report should provide the legislature and the public with a better picture of the current fiscal status of the State. This is an informational hearing only. The report is expected to reveal higher than anticipated revenues for the past fiscal year. Keep in mind that the FY2020 year ended June 30th. The members of the revenue estimating conference will begin taking testimony on FY2021 revenue estimates in October.
The following new bill was filed:
Senate Bill No. 2928 Gallo, Felag, Sosnowski, Lombardi, Archambault, AN ACT RELATING TO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES - RETAIL LICENSES (Authorizes a holder of a Class B license to sell alcoholic beverages with take-out food orders and would sunset on December 31, 2021.)
SIMPLE TIPS ON HOW TO SHARE SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS AND DRIVE TRAFFIC TO YOUR BUSINESS!
The East Bay Chamber is here to help promote your business. EVERYONE is in the business of MARKETING. To leverage the marketing we provide, you must do your part too - and that is to SHARE, COMMENT and TAG. It's easy!
This is how you get views and climb the ranks on Google, Facebook and Instagram.
Here is a "cheat sheet" from the Chamber:
1) Follow The East Bay Chamber of Commerce on Facebook and Instagram! When you see a post from the Chamber, LOVE and COMMENT - this helps the post be seen by a wider audience. (eg "Thanks for supporting us!" "Come check out our new specials", etc)
2) SHARE to your page and comment to your followers (eg "So excited to be a part of #FirstThursdays in the #EastBayRI! Support the #EastBayChamberRI and #ShopLocal . Then TAG your biggest supporters. They can then help you spread the word on their pages! ) To tag them, hit "@" followed by their name/business name.
3) Don't forget to Hashtag #! Why? The hashtag is how you are discovered thru searches. Imagine you are searching for something... what phrases would you use to search? (#eastbayrestaurants #warrenplumbers #Bristolcoffeeshops #EastBayEventsRI) How do you want your business to be found? Remember to "geo-tag" ie. #warrenRI #barringtonri #bristolri
Please use #threetownsonecommunity #Eastbaychamberri #EastBayFirstThursdaysRI #shoplocalRI and TAG @eastbaychamberri
Reach out to us for help - we want to support YOU.
2020 Rhode Island Jeffrey Butland Family-owned Small Business of the Year: Dan Shedd, Taylor Box Company
Rhode Island District Office - September 30, 2020
2020 Rhode Island Jeffrey Butland Family-owned Small Business of the Year
Taylor Box Company
The year is 1885, the Statue of Liberty arrives in New York harbor, Dr. Pepper is served for the first time, and Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is published. In Providence, Rhode Island, Clarence Taylor opens a small factory to produce fancy boxes for retail stores, and he names it: Taylor Box & Card Company. While much from that era has faded, 135 years later, with its fourth generation of family leadership now in place, Taylor Box continues to evolve and thrive.
Today, Taylor Box Company is a leading design-manufacturer in the premium and luxury paperboard packaging industry. It has a national customer base that features numerous leading brands spanning multiple business categories which has earned them the title of 2020 Rhode Island Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Small Business of the Year.
The company provides design services from ideation through final prototyping and manufacturing, fulfillment and logistics. However, Taylor Box was not always the cutting edge “Best in Show” award-winning design/engineering production studio it has become. It began modestly, a handful of box makers in a one room rented space where the Dunkin Donuts Center now sits. Howard Scholes purchased the company just after World War I and was the first of now four generations to manage the company.
The company relocated from Providence to their current location in Warren in 1952. In 1980, with the retirement of his father, Dan Shedd took over as the third-generation president and began implementing his vision of modernizing the company.
First, Shedd refocused sales efforts on the high value-added segments, which meant expanding their investment in design and engineering services. This resulted in a doubling of their business, which in turn, required expanding their operational capacity. This required investing in modernizing each point of Taylor Box’s operation from design to manufacturing and introducing emerging computer technology. The design studio went from pencil, protractor and cutting mat to state-of-the-art CAD software while operational management went from back of an envelope doodles to comprehensive ERP systems.
The Taylor Box design and engineering studio has received national recognition, including being named “Best in Show” from the Paperboard Packaging Council and National Paperbox Association, and being awarded the Benjamin Franklin Award for “Best in Category” from the Printing Industries of America, and numerous other awards. While modernization has been the focus, it is the results of the modernization that are unquestionable; from 2009 to 2018, Taylor Box saw a sales increase of 371%.
“Dan is the quintessential small business owner,” said Melissa Travis, President of the Rhode Island Society of CPAs, and Dan’s award nominator. “Dan is not afraid of hard work, never backs down from a challenge and won’t let anything stand in the way of success -it’s a great lesson for all of us,” added Travis.
Shedd continues to grow his business expertise by leveraging the resources that are available to him including getting assistance from the SBA and its resource partners the Small Business Development Center, SCORE, and the Center for Women & Enterprise. “Rhode Island is blessed with a really active and engaged SBA leadership. Programs like the Center for Women and Enterprise have been invaluable to us as I bring my daughter, Marken, our 4th generation, into the business. The importance of having an SBA that is always reaching out to small business to listen to our concerns and then crafting ways to support us is critical to our success,” said Shedd.
When COVID-19 forced Taylor Box to halt operations, Shedd was able to secure a PPP loan from Bank RI. The funding allowed Taylor Box to keep its staff on payroll, negating any perspective layoffs and ensuring that the business could continue to operate.
Surely, Clarence Taylor could never have predicted the success the company he started in 1885 has had, but it is something Dan Shedd is looking to continue for the next 130 plus years. “First and most importantly, we never could have had this success without our amazing team; engaged, committed and hard working. It is said that what does not kill you makes you stronger, and that is certainly true in small business. I have learned from every challenge we faced over the past 40 plus years of my stewardship that resilience, enthusiasm, willingness to accept a measure of risk, partnerships and building engaged teams is at the core of our success. Family businesses have responsibilities that public companies wouldn’t begin to imagine and happily our family has been successful in meeting them.”