Updates from NC 48 Senator Chuck Edwards

Chuck Edwards Senate Desk | COVID-19
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From My Senate Desk
The world is much different than when I sent out my last newsletter. Let’s keep in mind that above all else, we are God’s children, and we are Americans. This is not the first time that our country has faced difficult times – or uncertainty.
While most of us have never personally lived through the toughest times for our nation, we are all well versed in American History. I vividly recall the stories of my grandparents about how they met the challenges of the two world wars, the great depression, and various other pandemics.
I was always touched by my grandma’s memories of how in times of crisis, both the greatest and smallest, neighbors pulled together even those who had little more to offer but their love and concern. I remember her stories of how then they banned together and planted or harvested crops for those in need, how they looked after those afflicted with disease or grief, and how they shared their meager worldly belongings, even when they needed them for themselves.
History has shown us how resilient Americans can be and how we can quickly retool and refocus our ingenuity – and our strength as our needs change. We’re seeing these things at work today.
That strength and ingenuity appear to me to have been born through setting aside one’s differences and simply caring about one another.
It’s now today’s generations that are tasked with the responsibility of charting American History. And while political operatives are quickly filling my email and voicemail, and critics of almost every point of view- I’d like to suggest that this is the time for us to set politics and our other differences aside. The situation we face today belongs to all of us. We’re in this together, and we’ll get out of this together.
There will be a time that we’ll find ourselves on the other side of this crisis. We should all reflect on how we want to be judged by our friends, our neighbors, and our God – once this pandemic is in our rearview mirror.
I’ve always been enamored by the philanthropic spirit I’ve seen in Western North Carolina. I couldn’t be more proud to live in a country and, in particular, a region where neighbors are so well known for helping neighbors. Right now, there are numerous clubs, non-profits, and churches seeking to lend help where they can.
There has never been a better time in life for this helpful spirit. It’s uplifting.
This is a time for us to show our faith in God.
This is a time to place our trust in our state’s and our nation’s leadership – whether they were our first choice or not. After all, no matter what elected position they hold- they are the leaders that the majority of us selected to lead us through times such as this.
I know that each of them is concerned about our health, our safety, and our well-being. I know that they, like I, are all listening intently to the experts that surround us and making the best decisions based on what we collectively know at any given time.
This is a time to heed the advice and take the precautions given to us.
This is a time to look in on someone that no one else might be checking on.
This is a time for us to show our children our confidence in the soul of our nation.
This is a time to be proud we stand together as Americans.
I pray for the health of you and your family.
Chuck Edwards, Senator
48th District NC
The COVID-19 crisis has affected every aspect of our lives, and we are all trying to make the best decisions to safeguard our patients, coworkers, staff, and families/friends. I know many of you are weighing the decision to stay open or to close your programs or businesses in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and school closures. It is a hard choice: considering the health and safety of your employees and the community you serve and yourselves and your families, worrying about the impact on your employees’ livelihood and your business sustainability. At the same time, you need to take care of yourselves and your families. The truth is that there is not a right or wrong answer.
The following are resources that I think you may find helpful.
COVID-19 NC Information:
  • DHHS COVID-19 Overview page; call with COVID-19 questions: 1(866) 462-3821.
  • NC 211 is a free statewide United Way-funded hotline that gives callers access to resources, such as food, financial assistance, and other basic needs. This confidential service is available in many languages. Dial 2-1-1 or TTY (888) 892-1162 for help.
  • You can receive text updates on the coronavirus by texting COVIDNC to 898211.
  • Need help in identifying COVID-19? Review the testing and treatment guidance for potential cases and know when testing is appropriate.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
Small Business Assistance:
  • Manufacturing –
  • Find the Manufacturer or Supplier your business needs at ManufacturedNC’s database for everything produced in NC.
  • If you are a NC Manufacturer, Register your business with ManufacturedNC – other businesses could be looking for you!
  • Federal Funding Resources – CARES ACT –
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law Friday, March 27th by President Trump after the Act passed both the Senate and House. The CARES Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses.
  • U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering a low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loan to NC small businesses, small aquacultural businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and most private nonprofit organizations.
  • Apply Online: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/
  • SBA’s Customer Service Center: 1(800) 659-2955 or 1(800) 877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, or by emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.
  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans – provides cash-flow assistance through 100% federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans would be forgiven, which would help workers remain employed, as well as help affected small businesses and our economy snap-back quicker after the crisis. Loans are available through June 30, 2020.
  • 7(a) Loans: an affordable loan product of up to $5 million for borrowers who lack credit elsewhere and need access to versatile financing, providing short-term or long-term working capital and to purchase an existing business, refinance current business debt, or purchase furniture, fixtures and supplies.
  • 504 Loan Program: provides loans of up to $5.5 million to approved small businesses with long- term, fixed-rate financing used to acquire fixed assets for expansion or modernization. It is a good option if you need to purchase real estate, buildings, and machinery.
  • Microloan Program: provides loans up to $50,000 to help small businesses and certain not-for-profit childcare centers to start up and expand. The average microloan is about $13,000.
View the Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act HERE
Child Care Services:
DHHS set up a toll-free number (1-888-600-1685) to connect families in need of child care options with available care (Priority: first responders, emergency management staff, hospital staff, front-line healthcare providers, nursing and adult group home staff, child care program staff, food service staff, and other front-line workers, as well as children who are homeless or in unstable or unsafe living arrangements).
  • DHHS released guidance on public health information for child care providers about when someone is sick, screening criteria, exclusion criteria, cleaning, helping the community, limiting exposure, and preparedness
  • DHHS and DPI released joint guidance for the operation of school-based emergency child care during the COVID-19 school closure
Agriculture & Consumer Services:
  • Updates on COVID-19 for NCDA&CS can be found on the homepage of www.ncagr.gov.
  • This link provides information on food safety, essential businesses/critical infrastructure, FAQ’s and facility information.
  • If your stakeholders are experiencing issues regarding supply chains, delivery of goods, or business continuity, please contact the FEMA National Business Emergency Operations Center at NBEOC@fema.dhs.gov.
Filing for Unemployment:
  • If you have lost your job or been laid off, file an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim online with the NC Division of Employment Security. Call (888) 737-0259 for assistance.
  • View COVID-19 Information for both employers and people seeking unemployment benefits.
Tax Relief:
  • FEDERAL: The US Treasury Department and IRS announced the the federal income tax filing due date is automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020 without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. This deferment applies to all taxpayers, including individuals, trusts and estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers as well as those who pay self-employment tax.
  • The Employee Retention Credit for Employers Subject to Closure or Experiencing Economic Hardship – this provision provides a refundable payroll tax credit for 50% of wages paid by eligible employers to certain employees during the COVID-19 crisis. The credit is also provided to employers who have experienced a greater than 50% reduction in quarterly receipts, measured on a year-over-year basis. (NOTE: The credit is NOT available to employers receiving assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)).
  • Delay of Payment of Employer Payroll Taxes – this provision allows taxpayers to defer paying the employer portion of certain payroll taxes (FICA, Railroad Retirement, and half of SECA tax liability) through the end of 2020, with all 2020 deferred amounts due in two equal installments, one at the end of 2021, the other at the end of 2022. (NOTE: Deferral is NOT provided to employers receiving assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)).
  • STATE: The NC Department of Revenue (NCDOR) announced they will extend the tax filing deadline to July 15 for individual, corporate, and franchise taxes to mirror the IRS. NCDOR will NOT charge penalties for those filing and paying their taxes after April 15, as long as they file and pay before the updated July 15 deadline. However, INTEREST may be charged after April 15 unless the taxpayer files a request for extension with the IRS or NCDOR.
View the Federal Coronavirus Tax Relief and the NC Tax Penalty Relief for more information
Our Plan to Restart NC’s Economy
Three matters will require urgent policy attention over the coming months:
1) The public health response to COVID-19,
2) Acute financial support for employees in sectors badly hurt by the economic shock, and
3) Possible assistance for the economic engine when it’s time to restart it.
One overriding theme should be clear: When the dust settles – which it will – the work to rebound will begin in earnest, and the time to plan for that is now. These three priorities have to be addressed subject to the state’s revenue picture that will emerge in the coming weeks and months. Planning is underway for apolitical, consensus responses to each of these matters. We expect more conversations between different parties and across different branches of government in the coming weeks about the best path forward. We must balance short-term decisions with the need to avoid volatile swings in the state budget.
We have the means for a proportionate response to economic disruption. Times like this are precisely why. The legislature has been planning for an economic disruption for ten years through prudent budget decisions. We’ve built a multibillion-dollar cash surplus and one of the healthiest unemployment insurance reserves in the country.
Some who read this will argue that any fiscal response should prioritize those hardest hit by the economic shutdown: hospitality workers and the like. We don’t disagree. Critics of government-sponsored stimulus generally attack the idea that it is debt-financed and directed by bureaucrats. But this proposal would incur no debt and would simply return extra money that the state collected from the taxpayers. Consumers would decide how to use their money, and private market-based decisions are always more efficient than top-down directives.
We don’t need complex programs devised on the fly. As we get closer to returning to the General Assembly on April 28, we will continue to evaluate what steps need to be taken to ensure the health and well-being of every North Carolinian. The best remedy is the simplest: boost demand at the appropriate time to prime the economy’s engine as it comes back online. There’s no better way to increase demand than to return some of the money taxpayers sent to the state over the past few years.
Donate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Supplies
So many people are coming together to help out however they can. Our dedicated healthcare workers are on the front lines of today’s war. They need our prayers and support, as well as personal protective equipment (PPE). Hospitals around the state are facing a critical shortage of PPE and need new or open and unused:
  • Gowns
  • Plastic face shields
  • Nitrile gloves (medium and large)
  • Patient earloop masks (no face shield), both adult and pediatric
Thank you, Kelly Thai, proprietor of Grace Nails Professional Nail Care Salon in Pisgah Forest. Kelly donated 1,000 gloves and 100 masks that I picked-up and delivered to Transylvania Regional Hospital.
If anyone else has protective gear to donate, please call my district office (828) 785-4177 and we’ll be happy to pick and deliver. Drop-offs are accepted at my district office located in downtown Hendersonville at 337 N. Main Street.
Follow me on my Facebook page and visit my website for the most current legislative updates
Sen. Chuck Edwards, District 48 | 300 N. Salisbury St. #623 Raleigh, NC 27603

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