Florida receives at least $ 25 billion in PPP funds

At least $ 25 billion in interest-free government paycheck protection program loans have gone to small businesses in Florida affected by the coronavirus pandemic, according to data released Monday by the Small Business Administration.

And federal taxpayer dollars have saved at least 3.2 million jobs statewide, according to self-reported data by companies and sent to the SBA. The SBA released details of the loan after weeks of filibustering demands from lawmakers and media organizations to provide more transparency to the P3 program, which was designed in part by Republican Senator from Florida Marco Rubio.

Rubio, who heads the Senate Small Business Committee, said in a statement Monday that the Trump administration had provided “much-needed transparency” for the program, which was aimed at small businesses and capped at $ 10 million per loan.

“We know PPP has been a historic lifeline for over 4.8 million small businesses,” Rubio said in a statement. “It is clear that the financial damage caused by the pandemic will continue to impact small businesses even if the economy reopens. ”

PPP loans which are used to keep workers on payroll and other essential expenses like rent do not have to be repaid, essentially turning the money into a subsidy.

Unlike federal funds distributed to healthcare facilities in response to the coronavirus, where COVID-19 hot spots in South Florida received less money that in other parts of the state, PPP funds do not appear to have been allocated according to geography or party representation.

Democratic Representative Alcee Hastings’ District, which includes majority black parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties, received the most P3s money among Florida’s 27 congressional districts. The District of Hastings received at least $ 1.9 billion and up to $ 3.5 billion in loans, and beneficiaries in its district said the money had saved 225,436 jobs.

The district with the least PPP money in Florida also has a plurality of black residents, according to census data. Representative Al Lawson’s district, which includes Jacksonville, received between $ 165 million and $ 323 million.

The exact amount of loans is unknown because the government has only released information by bracket, with the largest loans ranging from $ 5 million to $ 10 million and the smallest under $ 150,000. Loans less than $ 150,000 did not include the name of the company that received the money. The companies themselves have reported to the SBA how many jobs were saved by the loan, although data released by the government is incomplete. And some nationally listed companies on the SBA’s list said on Monday that they had never applied for PPP loans.

The four congressional districts with the highest PPP totals in Florida are represented by Democrats, while the districts held by Republicans make up the next four on the list. The four congressional districts that received the least money are represented by two Democrats and two Republicans.

Democratic Representative Frederica Wilson’s district, which stretches from southern Broward County to downtown Miami, had the highest total PPP money among Miami’s five congressional districts, ranking fourth in the ‘State with 1.4 to 2.6 billion dollars received. Democratic Representative Debbie Mucarsel-Powell’s District, which includes parts of southern and western Miami-Dade County as well as the Florida Keys, ranked last among Miami-based seats, with the district receiving between $ 728 billion and $ 1.2 billion. The Mucarsel-Powell district includes Miami-Dade farming communities and small tourism businesses that were less likely to apply for large loans.

“Certainly our members told us at the start of the program that there were barriers, but overall we ended up hearing that many companies that applied were successful,” said Edie Ousley, vice president of the program. Florida Chamber of Commerce Public Affairs. “We know that businesses and job creators were badly affected and they desperately wanted their employees paid the best they could. For the most part, PPP provided the resources for businesses to keep their doors open and that’s really what our members wanted to be able to do.

Last week, Congress and President Donald Trump agreed to extend the P3 program for five weeks until August 8. The program was set to expire on June 30 with $ 130 billion remaining for companies that have not yet applied.

The extension could bring other benefits to states like Florida that have seen a resurgence in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. More and more cases have led to new closure orders for businesses, like restaurants in Miami that were allowed to reopen in late May.

Rubio said additional relief for small businesses will be needed in the upcoming coronavirus aid program.

“PPPs and additional long-term recovery capital must be the priority of the next back-up plan,” said Rubio. “I will continue to work with my colleagues on the Small Business Task Force to reach a bipartite agreement on a second round of PPP targeted for underserved businesses and for additional resources for long-term resilience.”

This story was originally published 6 July 2020 18:31.

Alex Daugherty is the Washington correspondent for the Miami Herald, which covers South Florida from the nation’s capital. Previously, he worked as Washington correspondent for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and for the Herald covering politics in Miami.

Ben Wieder is a data and investigative reporter in McClatchy’s Washington office. He previously worked at the Center for Public Integrity and Stateline. Her work has been honored by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, the National Press Foundation, the Online News Association, and the Association of Health Care Journalists.