Legislative

Bowling Protocols


 
 
 
 
 
 
BPAA Federal Policy Update - August 24
 
COVID-19 & FEDERAL UPDATE
 
  • Pelosi Pressured by Moderate Democrats, GOP on Stimulus Talks Moderate swing-state Democrats in the House are increasing their pressure on Speaker Nancy Pelosi to restart stalled stimulus talks with Republicans. Members of the Blue Dog coalition, a group of 26 fiscally conservative Democrats, is asking Pelosi, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to use a Saturday House vote on a U.S. Postal Service bill as an opportunity to restart negotiations. “As the House prepares to vote this weekend on a bill to protect the United States Postal Service, we urge you to restart bipartisan, bicameral negotiations on a fifth COVID-19 relief package that is commensurate with the scale of this public health and economic crisis,” the group said in a letter to the leaders that will be sent as soon as Thursday and was obtained by Bloomberg News. It urges a compromise, stating that “the reality is that only bipartisan solutions will deliver much-needed support, and that requires principled compromise by both parties.” Read More at Bloomberg
 
  • Republicans Float a Scaled-Back Stimulus Bill Senate Republicans on Tuesday began circulating text of a narrow coronavirus relief package that would revive extra unemployment benefits at half the original rate, shield businesses from lawsuits related to the virus and provide funding for testing and schools. The draft measure appears to be an effort to break through the political stalemate over providing another round of economic stimulus to Americans during the pandemic. But it is unlikely to alter the debate in Washington, where Democrats have repeatedly rejected previous Republican offers as insufficient. The new bill would spend less money, in fewer areas, than those earlier offers. The proposal, according to draft legislation obtained by The New York Times, contains many of the provisions Republicans first introduced as part of a $1 trillion opening bid before negotiations with Democrats. Those talks stalled as Democrats insisted on a much larger package, initially totaling $3.4 trillion. Read More at The New York Times
 
  • White House Open to $25 Billion for USPS The White House said it would be open to providing $25 billion to the U.S. Postal Service ahead of the 2020 election, but tied President Donald Trump’s signature to a piecemeal stimulus approach carrying more relief payments and additional funds for small business loans. Democrats and the administration have been locked in a stalemate over a new stimulus package, with Democrats demanding more funding than Republicans. The two sides are at least $1 trillion apart on another package of pandemic aid to overcome the ravages of a virus that continues to force companies, schools, and other organizations to roll back plans to reopen for business. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) plans to hold a vote Saturday on $25 billion in funding for the Postal Service, amid concerns that it doesn’t have the resources to process mail-in ballots in November elections.
  • White House officials have previously said they were open to $10 billion for the Postal Service. A draft Senate Republican stimulus bill would convert a previous $10 billion loan offer into a grant. McEnany said the administration would want any smaller bill to include economic relief payments and additional funding for small businesses through the federal Paycheck Protection Program.
  • Neal Asks IRS to Halt Tax Bills Due to Mail Backlogs: House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) asked the Internal Revenue Service to stop sending Americans notices of taxes due until the agency gets through a queue of unopened mail. Many taxpayers receiving these notices “already have made the payments that the IRS seeks,” he said. Due to IRS office closures amid the pandemic, the IRS amassed up to 12 million pieces of unopened mail
 
 
POLITICAL NEWS
 
 
  • Republicans Gear Up to Renominate Trump Next up for convention weirdness: the Republican Party. A group of delegates — six representing each state, territory and the District of Columbia for a total of 336 — is expected to begin arriving this weekend for the Republican National Convention before a formal roll call on Monday morning in Charlotte, N.C. There, President Trump will be nominated in a ballroom at the Charlotte Convention Center to lead his party for another four years. The gathering will be muted compared with what was originally envisioned, before the coronavirus pandemic upended both parties’ convention plans. Charlotte, originally prepared to host a raucous presidential renomination celebration, will now be where the procedural party business will take place. Republican National Committee members will gather over the weekend for their annual summer meeting. And Mr. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and a group of congressional lawmakers are expected to arrive on Monday for the televised, in-person roll call and for brief nomination speeches. Read more at the New York Times
 
  • Joe Biden Leads Donald Trump Narrowly Among Pennsylvania Voters In New Morning Call/Muhlenberg College Poll As Democrat Joe Biden formally accepts his party’s presidential nomination, a new Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll shows him with a narrow lead over Republican President Donald Trump in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania. Biden drew support from 49% percent of likely state voters and 45% backed Trump, when those leaning toward a particular candidate were included. That four-point gap is within the poll’s margin of error. A majority of likely voters said the president does not deserve re-election, and rated his response to the coronavirus pandemic as “poor.” But Trump is buoyed in the key swing state by voters who say the economy is their top concern and overwhelmingly perceive their personal economic situation as the same or better than it was when he took office, said Chris Borick, director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion. Those descriptions of voters’ personal economic situations are largely unchanged from a February poll, prior to the economic turmoil sparked by the pandemic. Read More at Morning Call
 
  • Biden's Tax Plan: Eyes On The 1% And Corporations Like Amazon The first night of the Democratic National Convention featured attacks on President Trump’s record and character from figures like Michelle Obama, Sen. Bernie Sanders and others. “He is clearly in over his head,” said the former First Lady. The Trump campaign’s official response largely ignored that and started by bringing up a different subject entirely: taxes. Trump’s press secretary opened by saying that “the first night of the Democratic convention left out the fact that Joe Biden would raise taxes on more than 80% of Americans by at least $4 trillion.” The numbers were slightly off but are true in the broad strokes. According to analysts, Biden’s tax plan would raise “between $3.35 trillion and $3.67 trillion” in the coming decade. And Biden himself isn’t denying it. He has directly said to high-income earners that “if you elect me your taxes are going to be raised.” Read More at Yahoo
 
LABOR NEWS
 
  • 1.1M More Workers File For Unemployment As Tally Remains At Historic High During COVID-19 Crisis A gauge of U.S. layoffs rose back above 1 million last week, signaling the recovery from the COVID-19-induced recession will continue to be volatile as recent infection surges ease in some states but persist in others. About 1.1 million Americans filed first-time applications for unemployment insurance, the Labor Department said Thursday, up from 971,000 the prior week. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg estimated that 920,000 workers sought jobless benefits. A mind-boggling 57.3 million workers now have filed for unemployment over the past 22 weeks. Before the pandemic, the previous all-time high for weekly claims was 695,000 during a recession in 1982. Read More at USA Today    
 
TAX NEWS
 
 
 
BPAA is pleased to provide the following biweekly update on federal policy. Please contact Tom Schreibel at tbschreibel@michaelbeststrategies.com if you have any questions or updates on activity at the federal level.
 
Visit BPAA’s website at http://bpaa.com/bpaa/government-affairs/government-affairs  to read previous federal and state policy updates.
 
 

 
 
BPAA State Policy Update - August 24
 
COVID-19 Updates and Tracking
 
 
  • WASHINGTON: Museums, league bowling returns in Phase 2 as Washington state updates coronavirus guidelines: Some league bowling activities can return to Washington state counties in Phases 2 and 3 after Gov. Jay Inslee announced new coronavirus guidelines for activities. Bowling alley owners had worried about going out of business after the state officials revised coronavirus guidelines earlier this year to strike down bowling in Phases 2 and 3. Bowling alley owners and enthusiasts organized a statewide protest last month, urging state officials to spare them from complete closure. The new guidelines issued Thursday allow only league bowling play and practice for league play. Lanes will be limited to two bowlers, and people must maintain six feet of distance between each other. Equipment cannot be shared and masks will also be required. No spectators would be allowed according to the guidelines. Read more here at King5.
  • Only two bowlers per lane.
  • Bowling is restricted to league play or practice for league play.
  • Spectators are not allowed.
  • Bowlers must maintain the safe physical distance of six feet apart.
  • Lanes must be sanitized for reuse.
  • Shoes and balls must be disinfected after every use.
  • Masks are required, even while bowling.
  • Read the governor's full guidance for bowling.
 
  • CALIFORNIA: Newsom nears pivotal decision: Should California try to reopen again? California Gov. Gavin Newsom says California is "turning a corner" on the pandemic weeks after locking down various sectors in a desperate bid to thwart a summer surge. But that puts the Democratic leader at a crossroads. Should California reopen gyms, churches and malls again? Newsom will face his toughest test as soon as Tuesday when San Diego County is expected to get off the state's list of coronavirus trouble spots. Not only would the county of 3.3 million become the most populous to shed its watch list status, it features a Republican big city mayor who has been driving hard to reopen businesses in a more politically moderate region — and who may be the GOP's best hope to challenge Newsom in two years.
  • “We’re off the watch list, but there’s not a process that currently exists for businesses to get back to work,” San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer told POLITICO in an interview Monday. “We’ve asked before and we’ll ask once again, where does our county go next?” Business groups and local leaders say they are frustrated by what they call a “black box” of communication from the Newsom administration about what happens when their counties come off the state watch list. For now, the state's only guiding principle is that current watch list closures will remain in place until the state public health officer lifts them. Read more at Politico.
 
  • Oregon schools won’t reopen until state sees substantial coronavirus decline, governor says: Oregon students, from kindergarteners to high school seniors, will not see the inside of a classroom or receive in-person instruction unless the state can substantially curb the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Kate Brown said Friday morning.
  • The state has essentially flattened the rate of infection and test positivity, but Brown said Oregon has yet to begin trending downward — as of the latest Oregon Health Authority update, 5.4% of tests are coming back positive and the state is seeing an infection rate of 50 per 100,000 residents. “Unfortunately, it’s still not enough. Our infection rate is still too high to get our kids safely back into the classrooms in most of our schools this fall,” Brown said. In order for schools to reopen statewide, test positivity must be at 5% or lower and 10 cases per 100,000 residents or lower, state officials say. The governor, flanked by Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen and state epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger, used those metrics as a measuring stick to illustrate Oregon’s progress in curbing the spread of COVID-19. “We have stabilized at roughly 300 cases per day in Oregon. We need to get down to 60 cases per day,” Brown said. Read more at Oregon Live.
 
  • It’s Safe, Smart To Reopen Florida Schools, State Witnesses Say The message delivered Thursday in defense of Florida’s school reopening order differed little from the words Gov. Ron DeSantis has repeated for weeks: Children need face-to-face learning, and the risks of COVID-19 are not great enough to take away that opportunity. A steady stream of parents, teachers, health experts and government officials hammered home that point as witnesses under the guided questioning of lawyers for the state. Defending against a lawsuit filed by Florida’s teachers union, they aimed to convince Leon County Judge Charles Dodson not to halt the order requiring schools to provide in-person classes by the end of August. Read more at Tampa Bay Times
 
  • Indoor Dining To Resume In Philly Philadelphia restaurants may resume indoor dining on Sept. 8 — with several restrictions, city officials announced Thursday. Restaurants will only be able to serve 25% of their seating capacity. Tables must be at least six feet apart and have four or fewer seats. The hope is to discourage people from eating with others who aren’t part of the same households, said Health Commissioner Thomas Farley. Customers don’t have to wear masks while they’re dining, but must have them on when they enter and leave a restaurant. Servers must wear masks and face shields at all times. Read more here.
 
Political News
 
  • Trump hits Biden over guns, schools and police at campaign stop in Pennsylvania: President Donald Trump delivered a wide-ranging political indictment of Joe Biden on Thursday in a speech near his Democratic challenger's Pennsylvania birthplace, just hours before Biden accepts his party's nomination for president. Trump argued Biden would be a disaster for Americans on taxes, gun rights, aid to migrants, abortion, energy production, school choice and police protection. "If you want a vision of your life under a Biden presidency, imagine the smoldering ruins of Minneapolis, the violent anarchy of Portland and the bloodstained sidewalks of Chicago – and imagine the mayhem coming to your town and every single town in America," Trump said. The president delivered his remarks at a building products company in Old Forge, Pa., about a 10 miles from Scranton, where Biden was born and grew up. Read more here at Politico.
 
  • Trump Campaign Sues New Jersey Over Mail-In Voting Plans President Donald Trump's reelection campaign sued New Jersey Tuesday over the state's decision to use a hybrid voting model for November's election in which all residents will be mailed a ballot, leaving it up to them to decide if they would like to vote by mail or in person. Donald J. Trump for President, the Republican National Committee and the New Jersey Republican State Committee brought the lawsuit asking the court to overturn Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy's executive order instituting the new rules that aim to give voters the option of avoiding voting in person during the coronavirus pandemic. Read More at CNN
 
Tax News
 
  • Nebraska Cuts Property Taxes, Extends Business Tax Credits Nebraska farmers and businesses scored big under omnibus tax legislation that controls escalating property taxes, restructures the state’s economic development tax credit, and grants a new chemical production tax credit.
  • Lawmakers enacted L.B. 1107, which offers a refundable income tax credit to farmers and homeowners for property taxes paid to school districts. The credit is capped at $125 million for fiscal year 2021, rising to $375 million in FY 2025 and further in subsequent years. A fiscal analysis projects the credit could cost Nebraska up to $450 million annually by 2030.
  • The new law also creates the ImagiNE Nebraska Act, which replaces the state’s expiring tax incentive program for businesses relocating or expanding. The cost is capped at $25 million in its first two years, $100 million in years three and four, $150 million in year five, and then 3% of net state tax receipts in subsequent years.
  • L.B. 1107 creates a refundable tax credit for production of renewable chemicals. Businesses could claim up to $3 million in credits for 2022 and 2023, ramping up to $6 million in 2024 and years after.
  • Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) signed L.B. 1107 Monday. The so-called “grand compromise” legislation had backing from the Nebraska Farm Bureau and the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce.
 
BPAA is pleased to provide the following biweekly update on state policy. Please contact Tom Schreibel at tbschreibel@michaelbeststrategies.com if you have any questions or updates on activity in your state.
 
Visit BPAA’s website at http://bpaa.com/bpaa/government-affairs/government-affairs  to read previous federal and state policy updates.
 

 
 
 
New EZ and Revised Full Forgiveness Applications for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
 
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, posted a revised, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness application.
 
SBA also published a new EZ version of the forgiveness application that applies to borrowers that:
  • Are self-employed and have no employees; OR
  • Did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%, and did not reduce the number or hours of their employees; OR 
  • Experienced reductions in business activity as a result of health directives related to COVID-19, and did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%.
 
The EZ application requires fewer calculations and less documentation for eligible borrowers. Details regarding the applicability of these provisions are available in the instructions to the new EZ application form. 
 
Both applications give borrowers the option of using the original 8-week covered period (if their loan was made before June 5, 2020) or an extended 24-week covered period. The revised full application has been cut to five pages, including a page of instructions, from the original 11, and the new “EZ” application form is just three pages.These changes will result in a more efficient process and make it easier for businesses to realize full forgiveness of their PPP loan.  
 
Revised Application
 
Friends, Please know that our Coronavirus Relief team at Michael Best is standing by to assist you with obtaining the relief provided. We can assist you through this crisis. Let us know if you need assistance.
 
On behalf of the team,
Denise Bode
 
 
 
Small Business Administration Reopens Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that it has reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance program portal to all eligible applicants experiencing economic impacts due to COVID-19 today.
 
The EIDL is a long-standing SBA program that is accustomed to dealing with geographically contained disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires. The program offers long-term, low interest assistance for a small business or non-profit that are suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19.
 
The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance:
  • Loan up to $2 Million.
  • Loans may be used to pay debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact, and that are not already covered by a Paycheck Protection Program loan. 
  • The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
  • SBA offers loans with long repayment terms, up to a maximum of 30 years. Plus, the first payment is deferred for one year.
  • Small businesses and non-profits may request, as part of their loan application, an EIDL Advance of up to $10,000. The EIDL Advance is designed to provide emergency economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. This advance will not have to be repaid, and small businesses may receive an advance even if they are not approved for a loan.
 
SBA stopped taking new requests for loans and grants from the EIDL, when initial funding ran out on April 15. When funding ran out it prompted Congress to divert more resources to it. In late April, Congress allocated an additional $60 billion for the loan program. Despite the additional funding since May 4, SBA has only been taking requests from agricultural businesses.
 
SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza said in a statement that the reopening will help small businesses and nonprofits.
 
“With the reopening of the EIDL assistance and EIDL Advance application portal to all new applicants, additional small businesses and non-profits will be able to receive these long-term, low-interest loans and emergency grants – reducing the economic impacts for their businesses, employees and communities they support,” Carranza said.
 
Carranza also said that the SBA has made improvements to help the program run more smoothly. She said "to meet the unprecedented need, the SBA has made numerous improvements to the application and loan closing process, including deploying new technology and automated tools.”
 
For additional information, please visit the SBA disaster assistance website at SBA.gov/Disaster.
 
Operational Monetary Cash Supply Challenges
 
It has been reported by a member that Banks are saying they are very short on change. In some cases, banks are limiting change orders.  If you are open please monitor your local banks behavior and would recommend a discussion with them. If you are not yet open and you transport change with a bank, please take this under consideration in your opening plans about getting operating cash for units over several weeks.

COVID-19 Updates and Tracking

 

  • WASHINGTON: Museums, league bowling returns in Phase 2 as Washington state updates coronavirus guidelines: Some league bowling activities can return to Washington state counties in Phases 2 and 3 after Gov. Jay Inslee announced new coronavirus guidelines for activities. Bowling alley owners had worried about going out of business after the state officials revised coronavirus guidelines earlier this year to strike down bowling in Phases 2 and 3. Bowling alley owners and enthusiasts organized a statewide protest last month, urging state officials to spare them from complete closure. The new guidelines issued Thursday allow only league bowling play and practice for league play. Lanes will be limited to two bowlers, and people must maintain six feet of distance between each other. Equipment cannot be shared and masks will also be required. No spectators would be allowed according to the guidelines. Read more here at King5.
    • Only two bowlers per lane.
    • Bowling is restricted to league play or practice for league play.
    • Spectators are not allowed.
    • Bowlers must maintain the safe physical distance of six feet apart.
    • Lanes must be sanitized for reuse.
    • Shoes and balls must be disinfected after every use.
    • Masks are required, even while bowling.
    • Read the governor's full guidance for bowling.

 

  • CALIFORNIA: Newsom nears pivotal decision: Should California try to reopen again? California Gov. Gavin Newsom says California is "turning a corner" on the pandemic weeks after locking down various sectors in a desperate bid to thwart a summer surge. But that puts the Democratic leader at a crossroads. Should California reopen gyms, churches and malls again? Newsom will face his toughest test as soon as Tuesday when San Diego County is expected to get off the state's list of coronavirus trouble spots. Not only would the county of 3.3 million become the most populous to shed its watch list status, it features a Republican big city mayor who has been driving hard to reopen businesses in a more politically moderate region — and who may be the GOP's best hope to challenge Newsom in two years.
    • “We’re off the watch list, but there’s not a process that currently exists for businesses to get back to work,” San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer told POLITICO in an interview Monday. “We’ve asked before and we’ll ask once again, where does our county go next?” Business groups and local leaders say they are frustrated by what they call a “black box” of communication from the Newsom administration about what happens when their counties come off the state watch list. For now, the state's only guiding principle is that current watch list closures will remain in place until the state public health officer lifts them. Read more at Politico.

 

  • Oregon schools won’t reopen until state sees substantial coronavirus decline, governor says: Oregon students, from kindergarteners to high school seniors, will not see the inside of a classroom or receive in-person instruction unless the state can substantially curb the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Kate Brown said Friday morning.
    • The state has essentially flattened the rate of infection and test positivity, but Brown said Oregon has yet to begin trending downward — as of the latest Oregon Health Authority update, 5.4% of tests are coming back positive and the state is seeing an infection rate of 50 per 100,000 residents. “Unfortunately, it’s still not enough. Our infection rate is still too high to get our kids safely back into the classrooms in most of our schools this fall,” Brown said. In order for schools to reopen statewide, test positivity must be at 5% or lower and 10 cases per 100,000 residents or lower, state officials say. The governor, flanked by Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen and state epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger, used those metrics as a measuring stick to illustrate Oregon’s progress in curbing the spread of COVID-19. “We have stabilized at roughly 300 cases per day in Oregon. We need to get down to 60 cases per day,” Brown said.  Read more at Oregon Live.

 

  • It’s Safe, Smart To Reopen Florida Schools, State Witnesses Say The message delivered Thursday in defense of Florida’s school reopening order differed little from the words Gov. Ron DeSantis has repeated for weeks: Children need face-to-face learning, and the risks of COVID-19 are not great enough to take away that opportunity. A steady stream of parents, teachers, health experts and government officials hammered home that point as witnesses under the guided questioning of lawyers for the state. Defending against a lawsuit filed by Florida’s teachers union, they aimed to convince Leon County Judge Charles Dodson not to halt the order requiring schools to provide in-person classes by the end of August. Read more at Tampa Bay Times

 

  • Indoor Dining To Resume In Philly Philadelphia restaurants may resume indoor dining on Sept. 8 — with several restrictions, city officials announced Thursday. Restaurants will only be able to serve 25% of their seating capacity. Tables must be at least six feet apart and have four or fewer seats. The hope is to discourage people from eating with others who aren’t part of the same households, said Health Commissioner Thomas Farley. Customers don’t have to wear masks while they’re dining, but must have them on when they enter and leave a restaurant. Servers must wear masks and face shields at all times. Read more here.

 

Political News

  • Trump hits Biden over guns, schools and police at campaign stop in Pennsylvania: President Donald Trump delivered a wide-ranging political indictment of Joe Biden on Thursday in a speech near his Democratic challenger's Pennsylvania birthplace, just hours before Biden accepts his party's nomination for president. Trump argued Biden would be a disaster for Americans on taxes, gun rights, aid to migrants, abortion, energy production, school choice and police protection. "If you want a vision of your life under a Biden presidency, imagine the smoldering ruins of Minneapolis, the violent anarchy of Portland and the bloodstained sidewalks of Chicago – and imagine the mayhem coming to your town and every single town in America," Trump said. The president delivered his remarks at a building products company in Old Forge, Pa., about a 10 miles from Scranton, where Biden was born and grew up. Read more here at Politico.

 

  • Trump Campaign Sues New Jersey Over Mail-In Voting Plans President Donald Trump's reelection campaign sued New Jersey Tuesday over the state's decision to use a hybrid voting model for November's election in which all residents will be mailed a ballot, leaving it up to them to decide if they would like to vote by mail or in person. Donald J. Trump for President, the Republican National Committee and the New Jersey Republican State Committee brought the lawsuit asking the court to overturn Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy's executive order instituting the new rules that aim to give voters the option of avoiding voting in person during the coronavirus pandemic. Read More at CNN

 

Tax News

  • Nebraska Cuts Property Taxes, Extends Business Tax Credits Nebraska farmers and businesses scored big under omnibus tax legislation that controls escalating property taxes, restructures the state’s economic development tax credit, and grants a new chemical production tax credit.
    • Lawmakers enacted L.B. 1107, which offers a refundable income tax credit to farmers and homeowners for property taxes paid to school districts. The credit is capped at $125 million for fiscal year 2021, rising to $375 million in FY 2025 and further in subsequent years. A fiscal analysis projects the credit could cost Nebraska up to $450 million annually by 2030.
    • The new law also creates the ImagiNE Nebraska Act, which replaces the state’s expiring tax incentive program for businesses relocating or expanding. The cost is capped at $25 million in its first two years, $100 million in years three and four, $150 million in year five, and then 3% of net state tax receipts in subsequent years.
    • L.B. 1107 creates a refundable tax credit for production of renewable chemicals. Businesses could claim up to $3 million in credits for 2022 and 2023, ramping up to $6 million in 2024 and years after.
    • Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) signed L.B. 1107 Monday. The so-called “grand compromise” legislation had backing from the Nebraska Farm Bureau and the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce.

COVID-19 and Federal Update:

  • Pelosi Pressured by Moderate Democrats, GOP on Stimulus Talks Moderate swing-state Democrats in the House are increasing their pressure on Speaker Nancy Pelosi to restart stalled stimulus talks with Republicans. Members of the Blue Dog coalition, a group of 26 fiscally conservative Democrats, is asking Pelosi, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to use a Saturday House vote on a U.S. Postal Service bill as an opportunity to restart negotiations. “As the House prepares to vote this weekend on a bill to protect the United States Postal Service, we urge you to restart bipartisan, bicameral negotiations on a fifth COVID-19 relief package that is commensurate with the scale of this public health and economic crisis,” the group said in a letter to the leaders that will be sent as soon as Thursday and was obtained by Bloomberg News. It urges a compromise, stating that “the reality is that only bipartisan solutions will deliver much-needed support, and that requires principled compromise by both parties.” Read More at Bloomberg

 

  • Republicans Float a Scaled-Back Stimulus Bill Senate Republicans on Tuesday began circulating text of a narrow coronavirus relief package that would revive extra unemployment benefits at half the original rate, shield businesses from lawsuits related to the virus and provide funding for testing and schools. The draft measure appears to be an effort to break through the political stalemate over providing another round of economic stimulus to Americans during the pandemic. But it is unlikely to alter the debate in Washington, where Democrats have repeatedly rejected previous Republican offers as insufficient. The new bill would spend less money, in fewer areas, than those earlier offers. The proposal, according to draft legislation obtained by The New York Times, contains many of the provisions Republicans first introduced as part of a $1 trillion opening bid before negotiations with Democrats. Those talks stalled as Democrats insisted on a much larger package, initially totaling $3.4 trillion. Read More at The New York Times

 

  • White House Open to $25 Billion for USPS The White House said it would be open to providing $25 billion to the U.S. Postal Service ahead of the 2020 election, but tied President Donald Trump’s signature to a piecemeal stimulus approach carrying more relief payments and additional funds for small business loans. Democrats and the administration have been locked in a stalemate over a new stimulus package, with Democrats demanding more funding than Republicans. The two sides are at least $1 trillion apart on another package of pandemic aid to overcome the ravages of a virus that continues to force companies, schools, and other organizations to roll back plans to reopen for business. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) plans to hold a vote Saturday on $25 billion in funding for the Postal Service, amid concerns that it doesn’t have the resources to process mail-in ballots in November elections.
    • White House officials have previously said they were open to $10 billion for the Postal Service. A draft Senate Republican stimulus bill would convert a previous $10 billion loan offer into a grant. McEnany said the administration would want any smaller bill to include economic relief payments and additional funding for small businesses through the federal Paycheck Protection Program.
    • Neal Asks IRS to Halt Tax Bills Due to Mail Backlogs: House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) asked the Internal Revenue Service to stop sending Americans notices of taxes due until the agency gets through a queue of unopened mail. Many taxpayers receiving these notices “already have made the payments that the IRS seeks,” he said. Due to IRS office closures amid the pandemic, the IRS amassed up to 12 million pieces of unopened mail

 

Political News

 

  • Republicans Gear Up to Renominate Trump Next up for convention weirdness: the Republican Party. A group of delegates — six representing each state, territory and the District of Columbia for a total of 336 — is expected to begin arriving this weekend for the Republican National Convention before a formal roll call on Monday morning in Charlotte, N.C. There, President Trump will be nominated in a ballroom at the Charlotte Convention Center to lead his party for another four years. The gathering will be muted compared with what was originally envisioned, before the coronavirus pandemic upended both parties’ convention plans. Charlotte, originally prepared to host a raucous presidential renomination celebration, will now be where the procedural party business will take place. Republican National Committee members will gather over the weekend for their annual summer meeting. And Mr. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and a group of congressional lawmakers are expected to arrive on Monday for the televised, in-person roll call and for brief nomination speeches. Read more at the New York Times

 

  • Joe Biden Leads Donald Trump Narrowly Among Pennsylvania Voters In New Morning Call/Muhlenberg College Poll As Democrat Joe Biden formally accepts his party’s presidential nomination, a new Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll shows him with a narrow lead over Republican President Donald Trump in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania. Biden drew support from 49% percent of likely state voters and 45% backed Trump, when those leaning toward a particular candidate were included. That four-point gap is within the poll’s margin of error. A majority of likely voters said the president does not deserve re-election, and rated his response to the coronavirus pandemic as “poor.” But Trump is buoyed in the key swing state by voters who say the economy is their top concern and overwhelmingly perceive their personal economic situation as the same or better than it was when he took office, said Chris Borick, director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion. Those descriptions of voters’ personal economic situations are largely unchanged from a February poll, prior to the economic turmoil sparked by the pandemic. Read More at Morning Call

 

  • Biden's Tax Plan: Eyes On The 1% And Corporations Like Amazon The first night of the Democratic National Convention featured attacks on President Trump’s record and character from figures like Michelle Obama, Sen. Bernie Sanders and others. “He is clearly in over his head,” said the former First Lady. The Trump campaign’s official response largely ignored that and started by bringing up a different subject entirely: taxes. Trump’s press secretary opened by saying that “the first night of the Democratic convention left out the fact that Joe Biden would raise taxes on more than 80% of Americans by at least $4 trillion.” The numbers were slightly off but are true in the broad strokes. According to analysts, Biden’s tax plan would raise “between $3.35 trillion and $3.67 trillion” in the coming decade. And Biden himself isn’t denying it. He has directly said to high-income earners that “if you elect me your taxes are going to be raised.” Read More at Yahoo

 

Labor News

  • 1.1M More Workers File For Unemployment As Tally Remains At Historic High During COVID-19 Crisis A gauge of U.S. layoffs rose back above 1 million last week, signaling the recovery from the COVID-19-induced recession will continue to be volatile as recent infection surges ease in some states but persist in others. About 1.1 million Americans filed first-time applications for unemployment insurance, the Labor Department said Thursday, up from 971,000 the prior week. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg estimated that 920,000 workers sought jobless benefits. A mind-boggling 57.3 million workers now have filed for unemployment over the past 22 weeks. Before the pandemic, the previous all-time high for weekly claims was 695,000 during a recession in 1982. Read More at USA Today

 

Tax News