Friday Five | September 24, 2021

A recap of this week’s top-five news items and resources from the intersection of business and government.


1. House of Representatives vote on $1.3 trillion infrastructure bill next week 

At our event “Congressional Roundup” this past Wednesday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer confirmed that the House of Representatives will vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill this coming Monday, Sept. 27. This bill, if passed, would not only revitalize our nation’s economy by investing $1.3 trillion in our crumbling infrastructure but would also create millions of jobs and improve our global competitiveness.

CALL TO ACTION! Join the effort, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to urge Congress and President Biden to pass this legislation that will benefit all Americans by clicking here


2. Maryland unemployment rate falls to lowest since COVID-19 pandemic began 

According to data recently released by the U.S. Department of Labor, Maryland gained 11,900 jobs in August while its unemployment rate fell to its lowest point since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of August, Maryland has recovered about two-thirds of lost jobs and still has 109,000 fewer than in February 2020 before the pandemic led to government-enforced shutdowns of businesses. Within Maryland, the industry that saw the most significant job growth was the professional and business services industry, adding 3,600 jobs in August. Even though the state’s unemployment rate remains higher than the national average of 5.2%, the data shows clear signs of improvement, bringing us on the correct path to recovery.

Read the full story here.


3. Maryland finds federal pandemic aid may fall $1B short of expectations 

Maryland Budget Secretary David Brinkley told legislators Wednesday that the state will need to cover more than $1 billion in spending that federal pandemic aid was initially going to provide. Maryland was expected to receive $12 billion in federal aid under the American Rescue Plan, passed earlier this year, but ended up receiving $180 million less than they expected. State and local governments are struggling to keep up with the ever-evolving guidance from the U.S. Treasury on how the aid can be spent and will require adjustments to the state’s budget. The state currently estimates an operating budget loss of $1.6 billion.

Read the full story here.


4. Deadline looms for potentially lucrative SBA loan enhancements 

The deadline for small businesses to take advantage of some potentially lucrative Small Business Administration (SBA) loan enhancements are set to expire next Thurs. Sept. 30. Currently, the SBA’s guarantee on its 7(a) loans is 90% up to $3.74 million, an enhancement Congress passed late 2020, and up from the 75% guarantee the SBA offered before that on loans greater than $150,000. The SBA has also waived all fees for 7(a) loans and has paid principal and interest on loans up to $9,000 for three months. However, business owners that want to take advantage of these enhancements must act soon because it is unclear whether the SBA will make an announcement when it runs out of the aid Congress set aside for these loans.

To read the full story click here and to apply for more information on SBA loans click here.


5. Redistricting Commissions request public map submissions 

Interested citizens can draw their own congressional and legislative maps to submit for consideration to Maryland’s two redistricting commissions. The two commissions, one established by Governor Larry Hogan and one run by the Legislature, are holding public hearings to develop maps based on the new 2020 census data. Those interested in sharing their redistricting opinions have access to an online mapping tool that includes information on the required population for congressional and legislative districts. As of Tuesday afternoon, the public had submitted nearly 50 legislative and congressional maps to the citizen commission.

Read the full story here.


Request a vaccine mobile unit at your business – The Maryland Dept. of Health will deploy mobile vaccination clinics for businesses interested in providing vaccinations to their employees and the community.

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