WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., is highlighting some of the small business provisions in the COVID relief package, which was signed into law this week, that he led or cosponsored to help support local Missouri businesses.

“Small businesses create the majority of new jobs in our country and shape the character of the communities they serve,” Blunt said. “Small business owners have done their part to keep people safe during the pandemic. We need to do our part to ensure they have the support they need to stay afloat, keep their employees on the payroll, and come back stronger than ever."

Paycheck Protection Program: The COVID relief package includes $284 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and focuses relief on the hardest hit businesses. The package expands the number of allowable and forgivable costs paid with PPP loans to provide businesses with more flexibility. The package also incorporates provisions from the Small Business Expense Protection Act, which Blunt cosponsored, to ensure business expenses paid using forgiven PPP funds are tax deductible, as well as the Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act, which Blunt cosponsored, providing for simplified loan forgiveness for PPP loans up to $150,000. The package also includes a Blunt-backed provision to expand PPP eligibility for local newspapers, TV and radio stations, and public broadcasters that produce and distribute local news and emergency information.

Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act: The package includes provisions from the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, which Blunt introduced, to permanently reduce taxes and modernize regulations for brewers, cider makers, vintners and distillers. Missouri’s wine industry supports nearly 30,000 jobs and contributes $3.2 billion each year to the state’s economy. Missouri’s beer industry is responsible for more than 57,000 direct and indirect jobs and nearly $3 billion in wages and benefits. Missouri’s spirit industry is responsible for nearly 30,000 jobs and contributes $1.9 billion to the economy.

Save Our Stages Act: The package includes $15 billion for independent venues, including live entertainment venues, movie theaters, museums, and zoos. The National Independent Venue Alliance estimated 90% of all independent venues would close without additional funding.

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