Subscribe to this e-update.
Boscola Bulletin

Keeping you apprised of the updates from across the Commonwealth is very important to me.  I would like to give a huge shout out to all the Departments within the Commonwealth for keeping me well informed and their quick response to quickly evolving circumstances to ensure continuity of government operations and uninterrupted delivery of essential services.  Below I am including pertinent updates on Education, Treasury, Small Businesses and more and the steps that have been taken to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the delivery services to you.

Stay well – make sure to keep washing those hands & practicing social distancing so we can help flatten the curve!

PA Department of Education

Governor WolfUnder Governor Wolf’s order, personnel at our educational entities in all 67 counties who are providing life-sustaining services, including, but not limited to: administration, food preparation and distribution, housing, security, information technology, building maintenance, and operations (e.g., payroll) can continue to be deemed essential and are permitted to continue their work, provided they adhere to social distancing guidelines.
In addition, the Department of Education (PDE) announced today all schools in the Commonwealth will remain closed through at least April 6 as a result of the COVID-19 response efforts. The closure order could be extended beyond April 6 if necessary to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19.

Under the new timeline, school buildings would reopen on April 7 for two days to allow school administrators, teachers and other staff time to prepare classrooms, set up cafeterias, schedule transportation and arrange other business operations. Students would return to school on April 9, unless extending the closure is needed in response to the situation with the virus at that time.

To assist schools during the extended closure, the state’s 29 intermediate units are ready to provide technical assistance to help develop continuity of education plans for all students beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24.

Additionally, PDE has cancelled standardized testing for students in career and technical education (CTE) programs for the 2019-20 school year. These include exams from the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) and National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS).

For additional questions or concerns, you may visit the Pennsylvania Department of Education website at www.pde.state.pa.us or by contacting my office via email at boscola@pasenate.com.

PA Department of Treasury

Payments

While Treasury is operating under a modified schedule, Commonwealth payments are still being issued per their normal operating procedure. Treasury will continue to timely process all public assistance benefits.

In anticipation of a significant increase in individuals filing for unemployment compensation benefits, Treasury is preparing internal capacity to process and disburse a higher volume of unemployment compensation payments.

PA 529 and ABLE

Treasury will strive to maintain the same level of service from our Bureau of Savings Programs as we operate under a modified schedule due to COVID-19.  The State Treasurer, as well as our internal investment staff, will continue to preserve and protect the financial stability and funded status of the PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan and ABLE programs.  The call center staff is working remotely and is available to answer phone calls from the public, though callers may encounter delays or disruptions. Rest assured, all calls related to the Guaranteed Savings Plan, the Investment Plan, and ABLE will have adequate coverage.  All critical functionality will remain the same throughout this period however any requests that are not time sensitive please anticipate minor delays - you are strongly encouraged to use https://www.pa529.com/my-account/  to access, view, or make any changes to your account.

Board of Finance and Revenue

Treasury will be maintaining the tax appeals process within the Board of Finance and Revenue, albeit with limited oral hearing access.  The Board will grant filing continuances as may be appropriate under existing circumstances.  Please send any inquiries you may have to my office via email, to boscola@pasenate.com, along with the case Docket number if possible.

Unclaimed Property

Please be aware that the Bureau of Unclaimed Property is not processing new claim applications at this time.  Your patience is appreciated at this time - unclaimed property inquiries will be delayed until the Bureau reestablishes its claims processing operations.  If you have an inquiry, please forward that to my office via email, to boscola@pasenate.com, and I will add your inquires  to ensure that your questions will be answered in the order in which they are received.   

Small Business COVID-19 Relief Update

Small Business Loans Earlier today, the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) voted to approve guidelines for the Small Business First Program to provide state assistance for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. $61 million has been allocated for loans to for profit small businesses up to $100,000 for working capital. Please reference the newly-released guidelines below. I am hopeful that the application window will open later this week and will provide notification as soon as that information becomes available to me. 

Eligible Businesses

An eligible small business enterprise is a for-profit corporation, limited liability company, partnership, proprietorship or other legal business entity located in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and having 100 or fewer full-time employees worldwide at the time of submission of the application. For purposes of this program a retail / service enterprise is defined as a for-profit business entity that is involved in the business-to-business service, business-to-public service, mercantile, commercial, or point of sale retail sectors. An agricultural producer is defined as a business involved in the management and use of a normal agricultural operation for the production of a farm commodity. A “farm commodity” is any Pennsylvania-grown agricultural, horticultural, aquacultural, vegetable, fruit, and floricultural product of the soil, livestock and meats, wools, hides, furs, poultry, eggs, dairy products, nuts, mushrooms, honey products and forest products.

Eligible Costs

  1. Working capital, which for purposes of this program is considered capital used by a small business for operations, excluding fixed assets and production machinery and equipment.
  2. Any eligible working capital cost, as defined above, incurred by the eligible business enterprise three (3) months prior to submission of the loan application will count as an eligible cost toward either the loan amount or, if applicable, the matching investment requirement. Retail / service enterprises are able to incur eligible working capital costs up to six (6) months prior to submission of the loan application. Please note that evidence of eligible working capital costs incurred equal to the amount of the total project cost will be required prior to the loan being disbursed.

Ineligible Activities

Projects relating to any of the following activities are not eligible:

  1. Providing funds, directly or indirectly, for payment whether as loan repayment, dividend distribution, return of capital, loans, or otherwise to owners, partners or shareholders of the business enterprise, except as ordinary compensation for services rendered.
  2. Finance a project located outside the geographic boundaries of this Commonwealth.

Restrictions

  1. Taxes Current. The borrower and its principals must be current in payment of all applicable federal, state and local taxes unless they have entered into a workout agreement satisfactory to the respective taxing authority and are fully in compliance with the terms of that agreement.
  2. Conflicts of Interest. The borrower and its principals and managerial officers must disclose any potential conflicts of interest with any officials or employees of the department or any officers or employees of the CEDO which is submitting an application on behalf of the borrower.

Loan Amounts, Matching Investment, Job-Requirements

  1. The maximum loan amount is $100,000.
  2. No match is required except for retail / service enterprises in which case the CWCA program is able to finance 50% of eligible working capital costs up to $100,000.
  3. There are no job retention / creation requirements.

Interest Rates and Terms

  1. Interest Rate – The interest rate will be set by the PIDA Board.
  2. Terms – Loan terms are three years with a 12-year amortization. In addition, 1) no payments will be due and payable during the first year, 2) principal and if applicable, interest payments will be due monthly for years two and three, and 3) A balloon payment will be due and payable at the end of the third year.

Collateral - The loan shall be secured by a blanket lien on all business assets currently owned or acquired in the future at the highest lien position available.

Guarantees - The loan shall be guaranteed by any individual or entity with a 20% or greater ownership interest in the eligible business enterprise.

Debt Service Requirement - The overall debt service coverage ratio should be at least 1:1 or better.

The Application Process

Supplemental Application Information

In addition to the Electronic Single Application for Assistance (ESA), the CEDO should include the following items when applying for a CWCA loan. All items should be attached electronically to the ESA submission:

  1. A project narrative including the following information: (a) amount of the loan request (b) a brief description indicating whether or not the applicant business temporarily closed operations due to COVID-19 and if so, the date the closure started as well as the date operations resumed, if applicable (c) a brief description of the adverse financial impact caused to date by COVID-19 and (d) a brief description for how the working capital loan proceeds will be used to finance the business operations.
  2. A Company Profile Sheet [Exhibit A] should be downloaded, completed, and attached to the ESA submission.
  3. A signed W-9 form for any individual or entity serving as a Borrower or Co-Borrower.
  4. A signed Certification Sheet for the applicant company(s) and each principal or entity with 20% or more ownership [Exhibit B] should be downloaded, completed, and attached to the ESA submission.
  5. An individual credit report less than six months old for any individual with 20% or more ownership in the operating entity and if applicable, the project real estate being financed.
  6. For retail / service enterprises, if cash equity will not be serving as the eligible match, an executed commitment letter for any loan or grant serving as a matching source of financing.
  7. For businesses with an operating history of one year or more, if available, the most recent year end accountant prepared financial statements or the most recent filed tax return.
  8. For businesses with less than a year operating history, the most recent available management prepared financial statements.
  9. Debt Schedule [Exhibit C] outlining all existing debts of the operating entity and when applicable, the real estate holding entity. This form is not required if accountant prepared financials are provided and include a detailed debt schedule. The Debt Schedule should be downloaded, completed, and attached to the ESA submission.
  10. Cash Flow Analysis Statement [Exhibit D] demonstrating the debt service coverage ratio for the loan request. The Cash Flow Analysis Statement should be downloaded, completed, and attached to the ESA submission.
  11. Signed and Dated Personal Financial Statement [Exhibit E] no less than 12 months old for all individuals with 20% or greater ownership in the eligible business enterprise. The Personal Financial Statement should be downloaded, completed, and attached to the ESA submission.
  12. The most recent year of financial statements for any entity other than an individual with 20% or more ownership in the eligible business enterprise.

Application Submission

  • All applications for CWCA financing must be submitted through a CEDO. A list of CEDOs and the area each organization serves can be found at www.dced.pa.gov/PIDA.
  • The loan application must be approved by the CEDO prior to submission.
  • CEDOs should submit the DCED Single Application for Assistance electronically at www.esa.dced.state.pa.us and upload all above supplemental information outlined in Section II, A. above as part of the electronic submission.

Review, Approval, and Closing Process

  1. Upon receipt of an application, a review will be completed by program staff. Additional information, if needed, generally will be obtained via telephone or email.
  2. If all eligibility requirements are met, the loan application shall be approved.
  3. Upon approval, a commitment letter will either be mailed or emailed to the CEDO outlining the terms and conditions of the loan. The commitment letter must be executed and returned within 60 days of receipt.
  4. Any material changes in the application, collateral or terms must be reviewed and approved by the CEDO and program staff.
  5. A closing will occur once the terms and conditions of the loan and all closing requirements are satisfied.

Limitations and Penalties

  1. Any material misrepresentation in any application or misuse of loan funds for ineligible activities may be cause for rejection of an application or calling a CWCA loan in default. In addition, the matter may be referred to the appropriate authorities for criminal investigation.
  2. Upon reasonable request of program staff or the CEDO, the borrower shall permit duly authorized employees of the Commonwealth or the CEDO to inspect the facility, books and records of the borrower and liable parties.

Contact Information

Questions regarding the Electronic Single Application for Assistance should be directed to:

Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development
Customer Service Center
Commonwealth Keystone Building
400 North Street, 4th Floor
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120-0225
Phone: (717) 787-3405 Email: ra-dcedcs@pa.gov

For any questions regarding eligibility or application requirements please call:
Phone: (717) 787-3405

If you have not done so, I encourage you to apply as soon as possible for a Waiver/Exemption for Non-Life Sustaining Businesses through the PA DCED website. Instructions are listed below:

Please visit this website: https://dced.pa.gov/

Select "Waiver/Exemption Form for Non-Life Sustaining Businesses" in the GREEN  box at the top of the page. Complete the information and hit submit. 

Remember to include as many details as possible with your application on why your business is life sustaining and performing essential operations for residents of the Commonwealth. 

Facebook Twitter Instagram Join the Conversation on Facebook and Twitter

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and updates.

Offices of State Senator Lisa M. Boscola

www.senatorboscola.com

BETHLEHEM OFFICE
One East Broad Street
Suite 120
Bethlehem, PA 18018
(610) 868-8667
Fax: (610) 861-2184
Toll-free: 1-877-535-1818
EASTON OFFICE
1701 Washington Blvd.
Easton, PA 18042
(610) 250-5627
(610) 250-5629
Fax: (610) 250-1889
HARRISBURG OFFICE
458 Main Capitol Building
Senate Box 203018
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3018
(717) 787-4236
Fax: (717) 783-1257
Senate of PA:
1-800-364-158 (TTY)
PA 529 PA ABLE