In First Visit as Majority Leader, Schumer Details Massive COVID Rescue Relief Delivered to County; with Checks Hitting Bank Accounts & Millions more coming to Chautauqua County Families, Workers, Live Venues & Small Businesses, Senator Outlines Jamestown’s Wins
Standing once again at the National Comedy Center, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced that ‘help is on the way’ for Chautauqua County citizens as he detailed specifics from the American Rescue Plan he just led to passage in the U.S. Senate. Using the National Comedy Center as a backdrop, Schumer explained that Rescue Plan contains even more for New York’s live independent venues which are eligible for their own, DIRECT, federal pandemic relief, thanks to a provision he championed.
The Save Our Stages provision included an additional $1.25 billion for independent live venues, performing arts organizations, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions and included a critical fix that allows venues to access a PPP loan and a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, deducting the PPP loan amount from the grant amount. Schumer said the additional funding and technical fix would be a lifeline for New York’s independent venues, hard-hit by the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Previously, a venue had to choose between getting a PPP loan or a Save Our Stages grant. The application process for the $16.25 billion program begins this week on Thursday, April 8.
SBA recently announced that the Save Our Stages program will open to applications on April 8th after Schumer’s continued push to implement the program. SBA has also released an updated PPP application that now allows venues to apply for a PPP loan as well as a Save Our Stages grant, as Schumer intended with the fix included in the recent COVID bill.
“Independent venues, theaters, concert halls, and cinemas, are the beating heart of New York’s cultural life and a driving force in the Western New York economy. These local businesses were among the first to shut down at the start of the pandemic, are struggling to stay afloat, and will be among the last to fully reopen, costing jobs and leaving a giant hole in the fabric of our communities,” said Senator Schumer. “That is why I made sure this relief bill included a swan song – additional reliefs dollars to boost the Save Our Stages legislation and a critical technical fix to allow venues to access PPP and flexible grant support.”
Schumer added, “I’m so glad that starting later this week, these hard-hit venues can begin applying for this vital federal assistance. Getting federal dollars into the hands of struggling small businesses, like independent venues in Chautauqua County, not only makes sense, but it’s the curtain call needed to keep cultural institutions like the Comedy Center and the Reg Lenna going.”
Schumer said that live venues, like the Comedy Center, the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, and the Floating Stage, as well as other concert calls and movie theaters, remain some of the hardest hit victims of the pandemic. As the state carefully reopens, Schumer added, dedicated assistance from the American Rescue Plan will save many venues from permanently shutting their doors to the public. It is estimated that by the end of 2020 live venues across the country lost $9 billion in ticket sales alone. The senator said the federal assistance was imperative because independent venues not only drive economic activity within communities through restaurants, hotels, taxis and other transportation and retail establishments, but live events provide 75% of all artists’ income.
The December package included $15 billion to create the Save Our Stages program after Schumer’s tireless efforts to pass it into law. The program, which will be overseen by the Small Business Administration, provide assistance to independent live venue operators, promoters, producers, talent representatives, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions. Grant amounts equal to 45% of gross revenue in 2019 for the venue, up to $10 million, can be used for various costs, including payroll, rent, utilities, mortgage obligations, payments to contractors, regular maintenance, administrative costs, taxes, operating leases, PPE procurement, and capital expenditures related to meeting state, local, or federal social distancing guidelines. To ensure the hardest hit of eligible applicants receive assistance, there are two priority application periods. The first 14 days, only eligible entities that have lost more than 90% of gross revenue can apply. The next 14 days, only eligible entities that have lost more than 70% can apply. A reserve of 20% of overall appropriated funds will remain available for all other eligible entities to apply for after 28 days. There is a $2 billion set-aside of funds for eligible entities with 50 or fewer employees to ensure smaller applicants are not left out.
Additionally, Schumer detailed the American Rescue Plan’s tentative impact to New York as more than $100 Billion dollars. The deal includes the additional round of direct stimulus checks for thousands of Chautauqua County residents, on top of aid for vaccine distribution, critical pension relief, an expanded Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, new rental assistance, agriculture and nutrition assistance, direct local fiscal relief to revive the local economy and help solve the region’s budget woes, and a new restaurants fund, all of which adds up to essential relief for countless families, workers, restaurants, more independent live venues and small businesses across the state.
Schumer also highlighted that researchers have said that the American Rescue Plan will cut the child poverty rate in half, which is important for the 25% of Chautauqua County children living below the poverty line. This plan:
Makes the Child Tax Credit (CTC) fully refundable and increases the credit amount from $2,000 to $3,000 per child age 6 to 17 (and $3,600 per child below the age of 6). An estimated 3.56 million children across New York will benefit from this expanded tax credit, and it will lift 680,000 children in the state above or closer to the poverty line. It is estimated that New York families will receive $7.03 billion in relief from the enhanced CTC.
Strengthens the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for childless workers, many of whom are in lower-paid but essential jobs on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic response, benefitting 910,000 of these workers in New York. It is estimated that New York families will receive over $786 million will receive in relief from the enhanced EITC.
Sends $22 billion in direct payments of $1,400 to over 9 million New York households. More than an estimated 58,000 households in Chautauqua County will receive approximately $146 million, and an estimated 35,000 households in Cattaraugus County will receive approximately $87 million.
As part of the deal, more than $23.8 billion in state and local aid will be going to New York, with more than $75 million going directly to the Chautauqua region – including $29.87 million for the City of Jamestown, $11.6 Million for the City of Dunkirk and over $24.6 Million for Chautauqua County. The New York State government will receive over $12 billion, solving the state’s budget woes.
The legislation also delivers critical relief for suffering multiemployer pension plans – which have experienced significant additional challenges as a result of this economic crisis – without cutting benefits retirees have earned. In New York State alone, there are more than 1.3 million participants in multiemployer pension plans, and around 624,600 New Yorkers are participants in plans that are expected to receive relief directly through this legislation.
“As Majority Leader, I fought hard to ensure this deal sent real relief to the tune of $100 billion to New York for workers, families, farmers, healthcare, small businesses, including our hard-hit industries like restaurants, and communities in the region—the things we need to support in order to weather this crisis and then work to recover,” added Schumer. “This marks the second biggest stimulus bill in the nation’s history—second to the CARES Act—and it comes just in time, because Chautauqua region residents still need real help to get through this.”
- American Rescue Passage Brought Swift Deposits Of $1,400 Direct Payments for Tens of Thousands Of Chautauqua County Residents; Millions More Dollars Coming To Independent Live Venues, State & Local Aid, Rental Assistance, Pension Relief, And Historic Child Tax Credit Expansion
- Deal Is On Top Of $150+ Billion Schumer Already Delivered To NY Earlier In Pandemic Relief Legislation; Researchers Say Rescue Deal Will Also Cut Child Poverty In Half, Significantly Impacting 45% Of Jamestown Children Living In Poverty
- Schumer: Chautauqua County To Get Big Slice Of $100B Pie