by Senator Lyman Hoffman
Today is the sixty-seventh Legislative day. This week the Senate Finance Committee amended and moved SB 19: extending SESA. (see info below). The committee also heard SB 32: College Credit for High School Students, SB 36: University Regents Reporting Requirements and SB 56: Extending COVID-19 Disaster Emergency. The committee also received presentations from the Alaska Marine Highway Reshaping Group, the state Department of Transportation on the STIP program and OMB and the Division of Legislative Finance on the American Rescue Plan on federal funds coming to Alaska.
Allowable expenses for the federal funds (1st and 2nd COVID-19 Relief Funds) have been expanded and extended. If you have any questions, you can contact your Local Government Specialist in the Department of Community & Regional Affairs or email [email protected]
As always, you can also contact my office for any questions.
SB 19: Extend Special Education Service Agency
SB 19 extends the sunset date for the Special Education Service Agency (SESA) to June 30, 2029. SESA was created in 1986 and is governed by the Council on Disabilities & Special Education. SESA assists school districts to serve children with low incidence disabilities. At no costs to school districts, SESA specialists provide:
•Itinerant outreach services to students who are deaf, deaf-blind, mentally retarded, hearing impaired, blind, and visually impaired, orthopedically disabled, health-impaired in other ways, and severely emotionally disturbed, and to students with multiple disabilities.
•Special education instructional support and training of local school district special education personnel; and
•Other services appropriate to special education needs.
SB 19 passed the Senate and is now transmitted to the House.
U.S. American Rescue Act 2021
US Chamber of Commerce (information source)
•$1.9 Trillion (Statewide $1.3 Billion with $100 Million to cities/boroughs)
•Focus on vaccine access
•Enhanced UI until 9-6-21 with added $300/week
•$1400/person Stimulus Checks
•Child Care Tax Credit increased to $3,000/child up to age 17
•$350 Billion to state & local governments
Specific Programs: Employee Retention Tax Credit
•Eligible businesses – 20% loss in receipts and 500 or less employees
•Can receive PPP and ERTC (on separate wages)
•Extends to 12-31-21
•Startups after 2-15-20 are eligible
Shuttered Venue Operators Grant
•Movies, zoos, museums, etc. with 25% loss in revenues
•45% grant of 2019 gross revenues, up to $10 million
•Can also get PPP loan & SVOG
•4-8-21 applications begin to be accepted
Restaurant Revitalization Fund – $25 Billion program
•Pandemic-related revenue loss – $10M/entity and $5M/location
•Uses: payroll, mortgage, rent, utilities, supplies, paid sick leave, operational expenses
•Can get both SVOG & RRF
•Public traded company not eligible but franchises are
•Not open yet but stay tuned
Payroll Protection Program
•Goes only to end of March 2021 (may be extended)
•Simplifies the forgiveness
•Expanded list of eligible expenses (at least 60% must be payroll)
•EIDL no longer reduces forgiveness
•501 (c) (3), (6, (19) and others qualify
The 2021 PFD filing season is nearing the deadline. Filing online is the quickest way to apply. Online applications will send a confirmation email if you provide an email address. Your MyAlaska account will allow you to electronically sign the application. Paper applications are also available at distribution centers. If you have already filed, I encourage you to verify the status of your application.