Paycheck Protection Program | Michigan Radio

Paycheck Protection Program

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Nearly nine in ten of the more than 121,000 Michigan businesses that have received forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program did not answer voluntary questions about race and ethnicity.

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With a deadline looming, fewer than one in seven Michigan small businesses have been approved for forgivable loans through the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), created to help businesses survive the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why aren’t more businesses applying for loans that could end up being free money?

Confusion about the rules and difficulty navigating the application process has discouraged some business owners, according to Sarah Russell, a certified public accountant at the Michigan-based accounting firm Clayton & McKervy.

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The popular Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids plans to lay off half its staff at the end of the month.

Blandford has been growing since the 1950s, when Mary Jane Dockeray, a nature lecturer at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, convinced the land owner to donate 17 acres to start the nature center. Blandford now includes 264 acres of trails, fields, farmland and a school, operated by Grand Rapids Public Schools.

Blandford estimates 60,000 people visit the property each year, and those visits didn’t stop when the pandemic started.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

President Donald Trump’s signing of the PPP Flexibility Act on Friday doesn’t immediately answer all the questions about loan forgiveness small business owners and their advocates have been asking for weeks.  

Restrictions on a federal emergency loan program for small businesses has borrowers worried. At a press conference Wednesday House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly said lawmakers would vote on changes to the Paycheck Protection Program next week. The measure is also expected to find support in the Senate.