Chamber Leading the Way to Promote Economic Stability in Wake of COVID-19

March 19, 2020

State Government has taken unprecedented steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 and, while necessary for public health, the consequences to Michigan job providers cannot be ignored. The Michigan Chamber is actively working with the Governor’s office and legislative leaders on mechanisms to provide relief to the hardest hit businesses. 

Ideas being discussed are as follows:

  • The Chamber was successful in its effort to get the Michigan Department of Treasury to waive all penalty and interest on sales, use, and withholding taxes which were to be due tomorrow, March 20th. This is a great first step, but now state government needs to enact a mechanism that would allow employers to use these dollars to cover business losses in the form of a refundable tax credit. 
  • In addition to sales, use and withholding taxes, unemployment tax remittances should also be suspended, and a credit should be considered to recover from economic hardship.
  • Money already appropriated to the Michigan Strategic Fund should be made available to cover the immediate needs of the states hardest hit businesses. 
  • State alcohol purchases made in anticipation of the St. Patrick’s Day holiday should be eligible for immediate return to the state for a full refund to help with liquidity needs.
  • Work with Governor’s office on the application for a declaration of economic disaster in order to allow businesses to have access to emergency SBA loans.
  • Provide unemployment insurance (UI) tax relief for all employers by expanding E.O. 2020-9 to specify that employers who are forced to lay-off workers due to COVID-19 will not be charged for UI benefits or suffer higher UI taxes as a result of the pandemic. Alternatively, the state should expand the look-back period to determine employers’ UI tax rates from three to five years, so the effect of COVID-19 will be smoothed out over a longer period of time. 
  • Request funding support from the federal government for the state’s UI Trust Fund (the fund that pays benefits to unemployed workers). 
  • Allow independent contractors and the self-employed to have access to unemployment benefits.

For more information, or if you have further ideas on how the State could provide economic relief to businesses impacted by this public health emergency, please contact Dan Papineau at dpapineau@michamber.com.