April 16, 2020
The Honorable Mike Crapo – Chairman, Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
The Honorable Sherrod Brown – Ranking Member, Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs The Honorable Marco Rubio – Chairman, Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
The Honorable Ben Cardin – Ranking Member, Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
On behalf of 30,000 professional photographers from every corner of the country, I write to ask for swift action to be taken to ensure the survival of small businesses during this pandemic.
We are greatly appreciate of your efforts during this crisis to provide liquidity so businesses can keep their employees on payroll, increase unemployment benefits for freelancers and self-employed individuals, and create tax credits to reduce the overall burden sitting on thousands of American’s shoulders. However, there are hurdles that stand in the way of small businesses accessing these programs.
In a survey that was released to our membership, over 75% of respondents reported that they already applied for the EIDL, PPP, or unemployment insurance. For those that have applied for the EIDL advance, less than 0.7% of respondents have received the funds and for the PPP, less than 1% of respondents have received funds from this loan. These programs are being inundated because the country is dire straits; but there are solutions.
We also ask that clarification be provided for Pandemic Unemployment Insurance to include freelancers and independent contractors who normally work at home or in the field and do not fit within the listed criteria in the CARES Act. Most photographers operate their businesses out of their homes. Their office is wherever they open the shutter and the kitchen table is their editing suite. In doing so, individuals who have a history of verifiable income prior to COVID-19 can remain afloat during this time and be ready to get back to work when the country is able.
Thank you for your continued initiative to assist Americans through these tumultuous times. We remain vigilant to work with you and your staff to reach these shared goals.
Chief Executive Officer