IAVM continues to partner with TwinLogic Strategies to advocate for and on behalf of our members and the entire venue management industry as we work to recover, reopen and get back to business. post-pandemic. Below is an update of the latest efforts at the SBA and Congress:
SBA SVOG – Slow-Going, but SBA Aims to Speed Up Process with Additional Teams:
SBA officials have told Congress and stakeholders this week that they plan to process all of the more than 15,000 applications to the Shuttered Venue Operating Grants program by mid-July, and a goal of 10,000 by July 4. This is after the agency has faced multiple public complaints, including a stern letter from Senators last week, about the significant delays in the program’s launch and myriad technical problems with the portal for applicants.
As of Friday AM 6/25:
- 5680 applications processed with 1876 awarded.
- 1387 queued for award.
- 152 declined.
- 900 cued for decline
- 881 with needed technical corrections
- 662 still being worked through for either technical corrections or for decline.
The SBA reports that the average length of time between award notification and receipt of funds is three days.
SBA officials say they are still working out the kinks with the SVOG portal, but have made shifts and additions to their internal teams to speed up the review and award process and improve its technical assistance services for applicants. Applicants should still email firstname.lastname@example.org but with the internal changes, they should receive a quicker, more substantive response to their questions.
Questions/Remaining Issues with SVOG:
Will the SVOG Run out of money before all applications are processed? No. Based on the number of applications submitted, SBA has told Congress it expects $11.7 billion in applications. The Fund has $16 billion. If there is left over money, they’ll likely allow existing recipients to apply for supplemental funding.
Processing: There is still a backlog among applications that have been reviewed and are just awaiting final approval, as well as between approvals and awaiting final awarding and disbursements. This past week, they provided cross-training between the different categories of workers so that they can easily shift people between roles in order to find the right balance and work-flow. There are plenty of people past the review process but not the approver process. As the review process takes approximately four hours, and the remaining processes are rather swift in comparison, they still believe that they will hit their July processing goals.
4506-T They are launching a new 4506-T form curing process that provides applicants with a pre-filled form so it’s easy to sign and send back. That began on Friday.
Technical Corrections Notifications: If venues have technical errors that need fixing, they will be notified via email on Monday 6/28.
Appeals for Award Modifications: The SBA has cleared the legal hurdles and found there is nothing barring reconsideration on the award amount. Now they have to determine the process and present it to the Administrator, likely happening next week. Reconsiderations will be made after this whole approval process is done.
Appeals Process for Rejected Applications: At this time, applicants can re-apply only if there are technical issues or errors on the application, but not if they were deemed ineligible. SBA has not yet determined if applicants that have been rejected due to ineligibility can re-apply. Unfortunately, once the application is rejected, the SBA says it is technically unable to provide a reason for that rejection. They acknowledge that this is a problem and say that they are working on it, but it could take a while.
Congressional Efforts to Help Venues Get Back Up and Running:
- A Senate Travel and Tourism committee held a series of hearings this spring on the challenges facing the entertainment, hospitality and conventions industries to reopen. Key challenges include the labor shortage, lost revenue due to shuttered venues and then once reopened, less revenue due to limited capacity requirements; and significant costs to reconfigure facilities.
- Two pieces of legislation have been introduced by Nevada’s U.S. Senators and the Representative who represents Las Vegas to address some of these issues.
- The Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act (S. 477, Sens. Cortez Masto (D-NV)/ Cramer (R-ND) and H.R. 1346, Rep. Horsford (D-NV)) would support the convention and trade show industries by establishing a tax credit for the cost of attending or hosting a convention, business meeting or trade show between January 2022 to December 2024. It would extend the Employee Retention Tax credit for another year. It would restore the Entertainment Business Expense Deduction by repealing the changes made by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. It would also provide a modest tax credit for qualified travel expenses for many Americans. This legislation has 7 Senate cosponsors and 89 House cosponsors.
- The FRESH AIR for Businesses Act (S. 122, Sens. Rosen (D-NV)/Cramer (R-ND) and H.R.1398, Rep. Bordeaux (D-GA)): This legislation would provide a tax credit to businesses and nonprofits for up to $15,000 to cover up to 50% of the costs of air filtration systems and equipment. This legislation has less support. There is one cosponsor in the House and one in the Senate.
Status: The sponsors of these bills are working to get them included in comprehensive infrastructure and tax legislation Congress and the President aim to pass this year. IAVM will work for inclusions of these measures in the package.