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Restaurants, confectioners, ethanol industry ask for help

-The Hagstrom Report

The National Restaurant Association, the National Confectioners Association and the ethanol industry have all asked for help in the third tranche of coronavirus aid that Congress is developing.

The National Restaurant Association sent its members an action alert today telling them to call their members of Congress and senators and tell them to “ensure restaurant relief is properly addressed in this package.”

“Economic forecasts indicate restaurants and the foodservice industry could sustain $225 billion in losses and eliminate 5-7 million jobs over the next three months,” the alert said.

“By taking action, you will tell your personalized story about how this has negatively impacted you, your employees, and your industry and call on President (Donald) Trump and Congress for their support of the National Restaurant Association restaurant recovery plan.

“This plan provides direct and targeted relief designed to benefit restaurant and foodservice businesses of every size in every corner of the country,” the National Restaurant Association said, saying the plan would provide:

▪ Direct relief from a new restaurant recovery fund

▪ Community grants for disaster relief assistance

▪ Guaranteed loans and business interruption insurance

▪ Lost revenue coverage from the government

▪ Expand access to efficient and affordable loans

▪ Special disaster unemployment assistance for workers

▪ Tax breaks to help your cash flow

▪ A fix to the QIP tax glitch

National Confectioners Association President and CEO John Downs today sent Trump, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and congressional leaders a letter saying, “We are seeking a recovery fund among other support mechanisms for the multigenerational, family-owned small businesses in our industry, because they need business interruption liquidity to continue their operations.”

Downs also wrote a column published on Medium that said, “It’s time to harness the collective resilience, grit and determination needed to get assistance measures across the finish line for the family-owned companies in our industry and all small businesses across the country.”

“Wholesalers, distributors and other family-owned companies alike need business interruption liquidity so that they don’t have to lay off their employees … If the small businesses within our industry, not to mention the broader food manufacturing sector, end up failing because of the very serious challenges we are facing as a country, a significant number of jobs will crumble behind them, causing major harm to our economy.”

Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper said in a call to reporters today that the ethanol industry needs help in retaining “our highly skilled workforce.”

Cooper said he is in contact with the administration and Congress about being included in the package, but declined to state any specific requests the biofuels industry is making.

He and other industry leaderz stressed that their business has already been under tremendous stress from low prices and the small refinery waivers from the Renewable Fuel Standard that the Trump administration has granted.

Cooper repeated calls for the administration to accept a recent court ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency had not run the small refinery waiver program correctly and said the changes that emanate from that ruling should be made national. But the industry leaders acknowledged that this will be a difficult time for the industry, with people reducing their driving.


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