Government Affairs

Government Affairs

 
WSC is fully committed to keeping you up-to-date on developments that may impact you and your business. This dedicated page will be updated with new information as it becomes available.
 
Listen to our Virtual Town Hall Meetings with various water well industry members. Click the image below.
 
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November 15, 2021
 
 
President Biden has signed into law the bipartisan $1.2T Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This landmark infrastructure funding legislation includes $55B in new guaranteed funding for water and wastewater infrastructure plus $8B for Western water infrastructure. This is in addition to the $15B already funded, resulting in a historic level of funding for water infrastructure.


Here are the highlights of the water-related funding priorities:

Water

  • $11.7 billion over five years – Drinking Water SRF. This would follow the below allocations per year:
    • $2.4 billion in fiscal year 2022
    • $2.7 billion in fiscal year 2023
    • $3.0 billion in fiscal year 2024
    • $3.2 billion in fiscal year 2025
    • $3.2 billion in fiscal year 2026
  • $4 billion – Drinking Water SRF for emerging contaminants, including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
  • $15 billion – Drinking Water SRF for lead in drinking water.
  • $125 million over five years – Alternative Source Water Pilot Program.

Wastewater

  • $11.7 billion over five years – Clean Water SRF. This follows the same allocation formula as drinking water as seen above.
    • $2.4 billion in fiscal year 2022
    • $2.7 billion in fiscal year 2023
    • $3.0 billion in fiscal year 2024
    • $3.2 billion in fiscal year 2025
    • $3.2 billion in fiscal year 2026
  • $1 billion – Clean Water SRF for emerging contaminants, including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
  • $100 million over five years – Wastewater Energy Efficiency Grant Pilot Program.
  • $125 million over five years – Clean Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Sustainability Grant Program.

Storm Water

  • $1.4 billion over five years -EPA Sewer Overflow & Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grant Program of which, no less than 25% will go to rural and financially disadvantaged communities.
  • Reauthorizing the Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Grants program at increased funding levels.
  • $25 million – Stormwater Infrastructure Technology Program to create five Stormwater Centers of Excellence.
  • $50 million for stormwater infrastructure planning/development and implementation grants.

Programs Across Sectors

  • $250 million over five years – Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA).
  • $25 million over five years – The Water Infrastructure and Workforce Investment Grant Program.
  • $200 million over five years – Publicly Owned Treatment Works Grant Program, which connects homes to POTWs.
  • $25 million per year to improve access to running water in Tribal nations and disadvantaged communities.
  • Small Publicly Owned Treatment Works Efficiency Grant Program to be established with funding levels to be determined.
  • The Rural and Low-Income Water Assistance Pilot Program will establish a new U.S. EPA program to provide 40 grants per year to utilities to assist low-income ratepayers.

Western Water Infrastructure

  • $8 billion over five years – Ongoing drought conditions in the western half of the country will be addressed through investments in water treatment, storage, and reuse facilities.

This historic funding bill was supported by 19 Republican Senators including Senator McConnell. The bill also enjoyed the strong support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Farm Bureau, and the Water Systems Council.

 
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March 11, 2021
 
President Biden has signed into law the historic American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a $1.9 trillion bill that includes significant resources to fund important drinking water projects, including:

  • $350 billion for states and local governments, which will allow those entities to implement water, wastewater, and broadband projects as an eligible use of these funds.
  • $500 million for the Low-Income Household Drinking Water and Wastewater Emergency Assistance Program to support critical water and sewer investments.

In addition, the ARPA provides the following assistance for small business:

  • $7.25 billion in additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provides forgivable loans to small businesses. The application deadline is March 31, 2021.
  • $15 billion for targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) advance payments. Provides funds to businesses located in low-income communities that have no more than 300 employees and that have suffered an economic loss of more than 30%.

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December 22, 2020
 
The COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress on December 21, 2020, allocates $325 billion in aid to small businesses, with $284.5 billion of that going to a reauthorized Paycheck Protection Program, which allows businesses with 300 employees or fewer to access up to $2 million in forgivable loans to cover essential costs including payroll and rent. 
 
The new round of PPP — or PPP2 — contains many similarities to the first round of the PPP but also has several important differences.
 
Who is eligible to apply
 
PPP2 loans are available both to first-time qualified borrowers from the following groups:
  • Businesses with 500 or fewer employees that are eligible for other SBA 7(a) loans.
  • Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and eligible self-employed individuals.
  • Not-for-profits, including churches.
  • Accommodation and food services operations (those with North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes starting with 72) with fewer than 300 employees per physical location.
In addition, businesses that previously received a PPP loan may apply for another loan of up to $2 million, provided they:
  • Have 300 or fewer employees.
  • Have used or will use the full amount of their first PPP loan.
  • Can show a 25% gross revenue decline in any 2020 quarter compared with the same quarter in 2019.
The bill allows borrowers that returned all or part of a previous PPP loan to reapply for the maximum amount available to them.
 
PPP2 loan terms
 
As with PPP1, the costs eligible for loan forgiveness in PPP2 include payroll, rent, covered mortgage interest, and utilities. PPP2 also makes the following potentially forgivable:
  • Covered worker protection and facility modification expenditures, including personal protective equipment, to comply with COVID-19 federal health and safety guidelines.
  • Expenditures to suppliers that are essential at the time of purchase to the recipient’s current operations.
  • Covered operating costs such as software and cloud computing services and accounting needs.
To be eligible for full loan forgiveness, PPP borrowers will have to spend no less than 60% of the funds on payroll over a covered period of either eight or 24 weeks.
 
PPP2 borrowers may receive a loan amount of up to 2.5 times their average monthly payroll costs in the year prior to the loan or the calendar year, the same as with PPP1, but the maximum loan amount has been cut from $10 million in the first round to $2 million maximum.
 
Simplified application
 
The new COVID-19 relief bill creates a simplified forgiveness application process for loans of $150,000 or less. Specifically, a borrower shall receive forgiveness if a borrower signs and submits to the lender a certification that is not more than one page in length, includes a description of the number of employees the borrower was able to retain because of the loan, the estimated total amount of the loan spent on payroll costs, and the total loan amount.
 
The relief bill also repeals the requirement that PPP borrowers deduct the amount of any EIDL advance from their PPP forgiveness amount.
 
In addition, the bill includes set-asides to support first- and second-time PPP borrowers with 10 or fewer employees, first-time PPP borrowers that have recently been made eligible, and for loans made by community lenders.
 
Tax deductibility for PPP expenses
 
The bill specifies that business expenses paid with forgiven PPP loans are tax-deductible. This supersedes prior IRS guidance that such expenses could not be deducted.
 
Where do businesses apply?
 
PPP loans are backed by the SBA but issued by financial institutions. Interested businesses should check to see if a lender is participating. SBA figures show 5,460 lenders were taking part when PPP closed in August.
 
Targeted EIDL Program
 
The new relief bill creates a targeted EIDL program to assist businesses that were hardest hit by the economic impacts of COVID-19. EIDL loans bear interest at 3.75% and come with significant loan program requirements.
 
EIDL borrowers must keep records of how the EIDL loan is spent, and provide this information to the SBA within 90 days after the loan is repaid.  
 
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July 1, 2020
 
 
PPP Loan Application Deadline Extended
 
Congress has passed a bill to extend the deadline to request Paycheck Protection Program loans to August 8, from June 30. The legislation, passed in a unanimous vote in both the House and the Senate, heads to the president for his signature. 
 
The PPP program has about $130 billion left to spend. You may submit a PPP loan application to any lender that participates in the SBA’s 7(a) loan program.
 
Proceeds from a PPP loan may be used for limited purposes: payroll costs, costs related to the continuation of healthcare benefits and insurance premiums, employee salaries and commissions, interest on mortgage obligations, rent and utility payments, interest on debt incurred before February 15, 2020, and refinancing an SBA EIDL loan made between January 31, 2020 and April 3, 2020. 
 
One of the most best things about a PPP loan for small business owners is the ability to have their PPP loans forgiven. The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 gave borrowers more time to in which to use their loans and still obtain forgiveness.
 
Highlights of the PPP Loan Flexibility Act include:
 
  • Borrowers now have 24 weeks to spend loan proceeds, up from 8 weeks. Borrowers can use the new 24-week period to restore their workforce to pre-COVID-19 levels in order to obtain full forgiveness. The new deadline to achieve this is December 31 vs. the previous deadline of June 30.
  • The Act also reduces mandatory payroll spending from 75% to 60%.
  • Two new exceptions let borrowers obtain full forgiveness even without fully restoring their workforce. Borrowers can now reduce workforce requirements based on the inability to find qualified employees or if they were unable to restore operations to Feb. 15, 2020, levels due to COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Time to pay off the loan has been extended to five years from the original two while retaining the original 1% interest rate.
  • The Act now lets businesses delay paying payroll taxes even if they took a PPP loan.
As of June 27, 2020, SBA lenders had approved 4.8 million loan applications totaling $519 million.
 
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June 25, 2020
 
 
PPP Loan Forgiveness Updates

The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 gives borrowers more time to in which to use their loans and still obtain forgiveness. Highlights of the PPP Loan Flexibility Act include:

  • Borrowers now have 24 weeks to spend loan proceeds, up from 8 weeks. Borrowers can use the new 24-week period to restore their workforce to pre-COVID-19 levels in order to obtain full forgiveness. The new deadline to achieve this is December 31 vs. the previous deadline of June 30.
  • The Act also reduces mandatory payroll spending from 75% to 60%.
  • Two new exceptions let borrowers obtain full forgiveness even without fully restoring their workforce. Borrowers can now reduce workforce requirements based on the inability to find qualified employees or if they were unable to restore operations to Feb. 15, 2020, levels due to COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Time to pay off the loan has been extended to five years from the original two while retaining the original 1% interest rate.
  • The Act now lets businesses delay paying payroll taxes even if they took a PPP loan.

On June 24, the SBA released a revised loan forgiveness application for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The SBA also unveiled a new EZ PPP application for borrowers that are self-employed and have no employees.

PPP Loan Forgiveness of $46,154 Per Employee

The PPP allows loan forgiveness for payroll costs — including salary, wages, and tips — for up to $100,000 annualized per employee, or $15,385 per individual over the eight-week period. The new interim final rule establishes the 24-week maximum for full loan forgiveness at $46,154 per employee.

Borrowers who received PPP funds prior to June 5, 2020, may choose between using the original eight-week covered period or the new 24-week covered period.

Borrowers are responsible for calculating the total amount of loan forgiveness and must provide necessary documentation with their forgiveness application to their lender. The lender must then conduct a “good faith” review of the application and supporting documentation.

The deadline for PPP loan forgiveness applications is Tuesday, June 30, 2020.

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June 8, 2020
 
 
PPP Flexibility Act Now Law
 
The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, signed into law by President Trump on June 5, 2020, amends the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to give borrowers more freedom in how and when loan funds are spent while retaining the possibility of full forgiveness.
 
Key Takeaways
  • The PPP Flexibility Act amends the Paycheck Protection Program to give borrowers more time to spend loan funds and still obtain forgiveness.
  • Borrowers now have 24 weeks to spend loan proceeds, up from 8 weeks. Borrowers can use the new 24-week period to restore their workforce to pre-COVID-19 levels in order to obtain full forgiveness. The new deadline to achieve this is December 31 vs. the previous deadline of June 30.
  • The Act also reduces mandatory payroll spending from 75% to 60%.
  • Two new exceptions let borrowers obtain full forgiveness even without fully restoring their workforce. Borrowers can now reduce workforce requirements based on the inability to find qualified employees or if they were unable to restore operations to Feb. 15, 2020, levels due to COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Time to pay off the loan has been extended to five years from the original two while retaining the original 1% interest rate.
  • The Act now lets businesses delay paying payroll taxes even if they took a PPP loan.

Total funding allocated to the PPP rose to $660 billion after the second round of funding was approved in late April. As of June 6, the SBA had approved $511.4B in PPP loans, leaving almost $150B available for PPP lending. The overall average loan size is $113,000, according to the SBA.
 
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May 18, 2020
 
PPP Loan Forgiveness Application Released
 
The Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, has released the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application and detailed instructions for the application.
 
The form and instructions inform borrowers how to apply for forgiveness of their PPP loans, consistent with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). SBA will also soon issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers as they complete their applications, and to provide lenders with guidance on their responsibilities.
 
The form and instructions include several measures to reduce compliance burdens and simplify the process for borrowers, including:
  • Options for borrowers to calculate payroll costs using an “alternative payroll covered period” that aligns with borrowers’ regular payroll cycles
  • Flexibility to include eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses paid or incurred during the eight-week period after receiving their PPP loan
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to perform the calculations required by the CARES Act to confirm eligibility for loan forgiveness
  • Borrower-friendly implementation of statutory exemptions from loan forgiveness reduction based on rehiring by June 30
  • Addition of a new exemption from the loan forgiveness reduction for borrowers who have made a good-faith, written offer to rehire workers that was declined

The documents will help small businesses seek forgiveness at the conclusion of the eight-week covered period, which begins with the disbursement of their loans.
 
Click here to view the application and instructions.
 
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May 14, 2020
 
Payment Protection Program Loan Forgiveness UPDATE
 
The SBA announced today that as a result of an unprecedented crush of applications (and the rapid depletion of CARES Act funding allocated by Congress) that they have CLOSED their application portal and are drastically limiting the number of remaining loans they have left to offer to small businesses.

If your business is among those that have received a loan or loan advance, your next major hurdle will be to ensure the amount you receive is actually forgiven.
 
Here’s what you need to know:
  1. The CARES Act requires that you APPLY TO YOUR LENDER FOR LOAN FORGIVENESS at the end of the eight-week period following receipt of your loan. Your lender MUST make a decision on your application for forgiveness within 60 days.
  2. The IRS has ruled that any forgiven part of a PPP loan is exempt from being taxed as a “discharged debt.” This means you DO NOT have to declare the forgiven part of your loan as income when you file taxes for 2020.
  3. Your EIDL loan advance WILL be deducted from the forgivable part of any subsequent PPP loan you receive.
  4. To receive full forgiveness, you must retain (or rehire by June 30, 2020) all full-time equivalent employees (FTEEs) according to the baseline used to establish your loan, except for any fully documented instances in which an employee refuses the rehire offer.
  5. The amount forgiven will also be reduced in proportion to any reduction in employee salary or wages during the eight week forgiveness period greater than 25% of the average amount that employee made during the base period.
When applying for loan forgiveness, you must submit the following:
  1. The total amount requested to be forgiven.
  2. Verification of the number of FTEEs (full-time employee equivalents) on payroll and their pay rates, including IRS payroll tax filings and State income, payroll and unemployment insurance filings.
  3. Verification of your payments on covered mortgage interest, rent/lease obligations, and utilities.
  4. Certification from an authorized representative of your company that the supplied documentation is true and that the amount that is being forgiven complies with PPP guidelines.

It is recommended that you secure a bookkeeper who understands all the details of The CARES Act, EIDL and PPP Loan programs. You don’t have until next year’s tax season to figure this out.

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May 8, 2020
 
WHITE HOUSE MEMO on Federal Programs in Place to Assist Struggling Businesses during COVID-19 Pandemic
 
The Paycheck Protection Program is effectively providing a lifeline to America’s small businesses and their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Since the launch of the Paycheck Protection Program, SBA has processed over 3.8 million loans for more than half a trillion dollars of economic support in less than one month.
  • Nearly 500,000 of the PPP loans were made by lenders with less than $1 billion in assets and non-bank lenders.
  • An additional $320 billion in funding has been secured to ensure a second round of PPP relief would be accessible for America’s small businesses. In the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program:
    • 2.2 million loans have been processed, worth more than $175 billion.
    • The average loan is $79,000, exhibiting that PPP is truly aiding the smallest of small businesses.

Please click here for more information: PPP Report: Second Round

SBA will begin accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance applications to provide relief to U.S. agricultural businesses. Eligible agricultural businesses may apply for the Loan Advance here.

Assistance for Small Businesses

The Paycheck Protection Program is providing small businesses with the resources they need to maintain their payroll, hire back employees who may have been laid off, and cover applicable overhead.

Program Overview

For Borrowers

For Lenders

Program Rules

For more information and updates, visit Treasury.gov/CARES and SBA.gov/PayCheckProtection.

Assistance for American Workers and Families

How to Help – If you or your organization are interested in helping the effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, FEMA has established a website with more information. For additional information, please visit FEMA’s website.

Guidelines for Opening Up America Again

President Trump has unveiled Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach based on the advice of public health experts. These steps will help state and local officials when reopening their economies, getting people back to work, and continuing to protect American lives. Please click here for more information: Guidelines for Opening Up America Again

  • Testing Overview (HERE)
  • Testing Blueprint (HERE)
  • Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes (HERE)

What you should know:

Situation Updates:

Information for Businesses:

Information for Travel and Transportation:

Information for Families and Households:

Information for Schools and Childcare Providers:

Information for Community Events and Gatherings:

Agency Resources and Information:

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⇒Essential Work Status

The water well industry’s work has been identified as critical
and can therefore continue during this time when Americans are being told to stay home and isolate. Water well contractors fall into the “essential” category. However, WSC manufacturer and distributor members should check what the regulations are in the state(s) where they operate to determine if their operations are being deemed “essential.”

While you are also essential to our industry, please remember to follow guidance from the CDC, as well as state and local government officials, regarding strategies to limit disease spread. These are challenging times and WSC is here to help! Reach out to us with any questions you may have. Stay safe and be well.
 
For more information on essential work status view the Federal Office of Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s Memorandum on the Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During the COVID-19 Response.
 
⇒Resources for Small Businesses
 
We know many in our industry are small business owners and we are thankful that our industry is still operating during this pandemic. We also understand that COVID-19 may impact your business in various ways. If you need financial assistance at this time to keep your business operating, please consider using the resources provided below.
 
Some of you may not require these loans, however, we are providing this information for you to share with those in your community who may need assistance. We know that our members are actively involved in their communities and we encourage you to share this information with others who may need it. Our COVID-19 Resources page provides additional resources for businesses, communities, and individuals.

To keep our members informed of trends in our industry, we will be sending out a survey periodically. To view current results, click the Survey Results image above.