Government Affairs & Advocacy Nevada Update – March 26, 2020
Our Government Affairs & Advocacy Team is dedicated to keeping you informed of pertinent information as we continue facing the novel coronavirus. We will be providing daily updates on the matter over the course of the next few weeks.
Please continue to refer to our Firm website for resources and information:
State and Local News
Nevada Resort Association – The Nevada Resort Association (“NRA”) sent a letter to its Congressional delegation urging lawmakers to provide relief to the state’s struggling tourism industry, warning that an estimated $39-billion would be lost due to COVID-19. NRA CEO Virginia Valentine cautioned double-digit unemployment rates, massive financial losses for businesses, and the significant reduction in tax revenue for funding state and local governments that rely on the $1-billion in revenue from sources such as hotel room, gaming, entertainment, and payroll business taxes justify the requested relief. Nearly half of that revenue goes into Nevada’s General Fund, making up about 40-percent of the total budget. In addition to the squeeze on tourism, Nevada’s employees are also preparing to take a hit, given that nearly one-third of the state’s jobs are part of the tourism industry. While the impacts to employees have so far been blunted by companies still able to maintain payrolls and health benefits for workers, such operations can only be continued for a limited amount of time.
Nevada Ranks Unemployment Increase – In one week, Nevada had 93,036 people file initial claims for unemployment, up from only 6,356 initial claims filed the week prior. This was the first set of unemployment numbers released since Governor Sisolak directed all non-essential businesses, including casinos, to close for 30 days. Nationally, about 3.2 million seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims were logged, the highest on record and nearly five times higher than the previous peak, which was in 1982. The Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (“DETR”) continues to struggle to keep up with the volume, especially from people attempting to contact them by phone. The state received $5-million from a Congressional package passed last week, which will be used to ramp up technology and staffing in unemployment offices. Officials continue to encourage individuals to file for unemployment through DETR’s website. https://detr.nv.gov/
Federal Government Developments
Today marks day eleven of the White House’s 15-day plan to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Walk-Through of Senate Stimulus Package – What the CARES Act Achieves:
Direct Payments to Individuals – All U.S. residents with adjusted gross incomes up to $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples) will receive $1,200 check. Adults are eligible to receive an additional $500 per child age 16 or under. Payments start phasing out for individuals who earn above $75,000 and below $99,000 and those making above $99,000 do not qualify at all. This is a one-time payment.
Additional Unemployment Benefits – People who are unemployed will receive an additional $600 per week for up to four months, on top of state unemployment benefits.
Aid to the Hospital Industry – The bill creates a $100-billion public health and social emergency fund to reimburse health care providers for expenses and lost revenues.
Aid to Airline Industry – Airlines receive $29-billion in grants, separate from the $29-billion in loans and loan guarantees. They will also be exempt from paying three major excise taxes – tax on the price of a ticket, the fuel tax and a cargo tax.
$500 Billion Lending Program – The Treasury Department can provide up to $500-billion in loans, loan guarantees and investments. $29-billion goes to passenger air carriers, $4-billion goes to cargo air carriers and $17-billion goes to businesses that work in national security. The other approximate $450-billion is intended to provide loans for businesses, states and municipalities.
$150 Billion to States and Local Governments – This provides $150-billion for state and local governments, with $8-billion specifically set aside for local governments.
No Benefits for Trump, Cabinet and Congress – President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, members of the Cabinet and members of Congress are barred from benefiting from the money carved out for corporations. This provision extends to include immediate family as well.
Student Loan Deferrals – All loan and interest payments on student loans are deferred through September 30, 2020 without penalty.
$367 Billion in Small Business Relief:
- Paycheck Protection Program – The Small Business Administration will oversee the Paycheck Protection Program, which has the ability to distribute $350-billion in loans to small businesses. The maximum loan amount is increased to $10-million through December 31, 2020. The bill provides loan forgiveness if the funds are used for approved purposes such as payroll support, paid sick or medical leave, mortgage or rent, insurance premiums and utility payments. Any loan amounts not forgiven and can carry an interest rate up to 4-percent with a maximum term of ten years.
- Tax Credit for Payroll Retention – Businesses can receive a tax credit for keeping employees on their payroll. The credit provides a refund for half of what the business spends on wages, up to $5,000 per worker. To qualify, businesses must prove they took at least a 50-percent loss compared to the same quarter the year prior. Utilizing the tax credit precludes businesses from qualifying for certain emergency loan programs from the Small Business Administration.
- Stock Buyback Ban: Any company receiving a loan under the program is barred from making stock buybacks for the term of the loan plus one year.
Extension for Real ID – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has pushed back the deadline to obtain a REAL ID from October 1, 2020 to October 1, 2021, citing the closure of DMVs nationwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ID will be required for those wishing to board commercial flights or enter federal buildings and bases. Even without the delays of COVID-19, rollout has been slow. The last time DHS gave an update on compliance, only 95 million out of 276 million total drivers had obtained a REAL ID.
COVID-19 Numbers in Nevada
These numbers are accurate as of 4:00 p.m. Thursday, March 26
- There are 420 positive cases in Nevada.
- Clark County has 350 confirmed cases. Of those, 74 are hospitalized.
- Washoe County has 57 confirmed cases. Two (2) are hospitalized and four (4) have recovered.
- Carson City has four (4) confirmed cases.
- Douglas County has three (3) confirmed cases.
- Elko County has two (2) confirmed cases.
- Lyon County has one (1) confirmed case.
- Nye County had one (1) confirmed case. The patient has recovered and been cleared from self-isolation by state health officials.
- Nevada has reported ten fatalities from the coronavirus, all located in Southern Nevada.
- Over 5,000 people have been tested.
Further statistical data can be found here: DHHS Coronavirus Statistics in Nevada
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