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Steve Leibel calls upon the State Government to take immediate action to provide for the health and safety of all Georgians, by adopting a Small Business Guaranteed Loan Program for each business that needs funding to keep employees paid during the pandemic, plus two months thereafter. Such funding would provide economic security to all Georgians, and maintain the economic status quo until the pandemic subsides.

Small businesses are the backbone of our State.

  • There are 808,285 registered establishments in Georgia (SOS: 3/5/19)
  • According to the GA Dept. of Labor, 278,125 business establishments represented GA employment in the 4Q of 2018:
    • 97.3% employed fewer than 100
    • 94.1% employed fewer than 50
    • 75.4% employed fewer than 10

Many of these are in the hospitality and food service sectors. Thousands of people in retail, restaurant, and small shops. Each business owner is motivated to stay in business and succeed.

The State of Georgia should institute an interest-free bridge loan for the duration of the pandemic -no less than 6 months – no more than 12 months - to keep small businesses of less than 50 employees afloat during the crisis. The banks would administer the guaranteed small business loans to provide for keeping payroll and expenses at pre-pandemic levels. Such loans would require personal guarantees, with available life insurance policies, and must be paid back over 7 years at a low or zero interest rate. As long as each business keeps 90 percent of its work force, the loan will not be called due and will be keep its zero or nominal low interest rate.

The benefit to the State of Georgia is that each employed person will be able to pay their share of state and local taxes. People will not be panicked, and will be able to maintain their social distance or stay home while receiving paychecks. The State of Georgia will still be able to maintain its balanced budget.

Healthcare should be examined as part of the package.

No buyback of stock or executive bonuses may be used with these funds.

Employers would be subject to criminal penalties for fraud.

The State of Georgia can no longer rely upon the federal government for its economic security. As a state, we have the obligation and responsibility to provide for the economic growth and security of our people.