WETHERSFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — Loans for small businesses and unemployment claims. They are certainly related, and state officials hope with more of one they will have fewer of the other. Of course, this is all complicated by the fact that state offices like this are mostly empty while employees work from home.
The last number we heard about unemployment claims was staggering – 20 times the usual number of unemployment applications. We expect that number to be revised on Thursday, and it is hard to imagine the numbers going down.
One possible remedy for some of that is loans to small businesses. These would be zero-interest loans that would be paid back over the next year and a half. The amount of the loan to each small business would be equivalent to three months of operating expenses, working under the assumption that things will be getting back to normal by the start of summer.
This is not just state money involved. There is also help in the federal stimulus bill that just unanimously passed the senate.
“In the Senate bill right now they have $350 billion dollars allocated not to tax credits which don’t help, but allocated again to forgivable loans. So I think we are paying special attention to those small business people wondering how they can keep people employed, how they keep their doors open, how they can keep their lights on over the next three, four, five months,” Gov. Ned Lamont.
The hope is that the website will be ready on Thursday for small businesses to apply online for those zero-interest loans. The hope is also that as more businesses get loans and stay open, fewer people will be applying for unemployment benefits.
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There are so many applying right now that there is a huge backlog. That is made worse by the fact that many of the employees who normally process claims have had to figure out how to work from home. The state is also asking people who used to work for the Department of Labor but recently left or retired to come back to work to help with all that demand.