March 7, 2021
Dear Arts Action Fund Member,
Late on Friday March 5, SBA posted the following Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) informational documents to their website. It provides an extensive checklist of materials to begin preparing for an application and a clear table of eligibility requirements based on the type of venue operator/producer/talent representative entity. SBA also added a few changes to the SVOG’s new FAQs (the added FAQs begin with an * asterisk), as well as a new video tutorial for museums. (Note: any SVOG changes currently in pending legislation cannot be reflected in these newly published documents until enacted into law…hopefully before March 14th.)
- SVOG Preliminary Application Checklist (published 03-05-21)
- SVOG Eligibility Requirements (published 03-05-21)
- SVOG Frequently Asked Questions (updated 03-05-21)
- SVOG Tutorial on Eligibility for Museum Operators (posted 03-05-21)
Following a record 25-hour debate that went through the night, the Senate passed its amended version of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan for COVID relief along party line votes on Saturday, March 6. Here are the highlights of the American Rescue Plan bill:
- The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) covered period was extended a week to Labor Day from 8/29/21 to 9/6/21, but the federal PUA amount was reduced from $400 to $300 per week. In exchange for the lower benefit, the first $10,200 of unemployment insurance benefits will be non-taxable in 2021 for households with an adjusted gross income under $150,000.
- Federal direct economic stimulus checks will be $1,400 per taxpayer and $1,400 per child or adult dependent (student, disabled). However, the payments will completely phase out for taxpayers with more than $80,000 of your last filed adjusted gross income for singles, $120,000 for heads of household, and $160,000 for married couples.
- Increase in the Child Tax Credit to $3,600/child (an increase of $1,600) for children younger than 6 and $3,000/child for children under 17.
- The proposed incremental increase of the minimum wage was dropped.
- The bill increased federal COBRA health insurance for laid off workers from 85% to 100% through September.
- $350 billion for state and local government relief with excellent language clarifying eligible use of funds for assistance to small businesses, nonprofits, and hard-hit industries like tourism, travel, and hospitality. Funding can also be used for the expansion of broadband coverage to rural and inner-city areas. $10 billion is designated for local capital infrastructure projects.
- $20 billion for additional vaccinations and $50 billion for testing.
- $15 billion for additional EIDL funds, with loans prioritized for hardest hit businesses with fewer than 10 employees.
- $7.25 billion additional funds for Paycheck Protection Program.
- $1.25 billion additional funds for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program with the new allowance that entities can apply for both PPP and SVOG for a net award.
- $25 billion for a new grant program for restaurants and bars to meet payroll and other expenses.
- $1.25 billion for evidence-based summer enrichment, $1.25 billion for after school programs, and $3 billion for education technology.
- $130 billion for most K-12 schools to safely reopen within 100 days.
- $135 million for the NEA, $135 million for the NEH, $200 million for IMLS, and $175 million added for CPB.
- $20 billion for additional rent and utility assistance.
What’s Next: Now that the Senate passed their version of the 2021 American Rescue Plan, it needs to go back to the House of Representatives for a vote on the identical bill. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer quickly announced this weekend that “On Tuesday, the House will consider the Senate's amended version of the American Rescue Plan, so that we can send this bill to President Biden for his signature.” Target date for enactment is before March 14, 2021.
Stay safe and stay tuned for more.
Nina Ozlu Tunceli
To read all Arts Action Fund updates, visit COVID-19 Arts Federal Policy Updates & Action Alerts.