Category: Guest Post

Guest Post: Small Business Funding not Enough to Stem Bleeding

Guest Post: Small Business Funding not Enough to Stem Bleeding

Small Business Funding not Enough to Stem Bleeding

Hoteliers/Lodging industry shed 4 million jobs, lose $500 million a day. Dr. Cecil Staton warns America that the CARES Act is not helping the unique needs of the lodging industry, the vast majority of whom are small business owners.

By Dr. Cecil Staton

America’s hotels are hemorrhaging $500 million a day from the economic shutdown, requiring as much as six months’ worth of relief to stay open. To date, more than 4 million jobs have been lost. As a result, the current Paycheck Protection Program and its sister programs are dramatically inadequate to stem the bleeding.

As U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said, every dollar spent through this program is a dollar that does not have to be spent through unemployment. Yet Congress, battling along partisan lines, settled on relief that shorts the vital lodging industry that will ensure America gets back on its feet — if open.

The lodging industry, represented by our association and others, has nevertheless stepped up to assist Americans during the pandemic — and continues to do so. More than 15,000 hoteliers have offered free rooms for first responders to stay to keep their families safe from exposure, as well as free rooms for college students and the homeless.

America’s hotel owners are small business owners. The overwhelming majority of hotels are owned and operated by people who live in local communities. In these difficult times, lodging is the signal industry. Hotels were the first to fall when conferences and events cancelled, and it will be the last to return to pre COVID-19 levels, as the trajectory of the virus and a potential resurgence remains uncertain, job losses have impacted disposable incomes, and businesses have seen profits fall and are cutting costs everywhere — especially discretionary travel.

Nobody can prepare to go to occupancy rates in the single digits. Even after the 2008 financial crisis, occupancy rates never fell much below 50 percent. Today, they are in single digits. Hoteliers are worried about meeting their payroll and paying their mortgage because people simply cannot travel and there is no income to make these critical payments.

The American economy will recover more quickly if Congress appropriates funds to prop up small businesses during the crisis rather than allowing them to collapse. The overriding concern is that American communities are going to be littered with the carcasses of small businesses like franchise hotels that have failed.

For a business like a hotel, the formula to determine its maximum PPP loan (2.5 times its annual average monthly payroll) just is not sufficient to make payroll, as well as keep the doors open for the business, let alone pay suppliers and service providers, representing millions of employees.

We also urge Congress to extend the covered period from June 30, to the end of 2020. Lodging business is seasonal and most hoteliers earn enough from April to September to keep their businesses running through the rest of the year. Since there is no business due to travel bans brought on by the health crisis, hoteliers simply cannot afford to remain open. The final tab may be $1 trillion to enable hotels to stay open until travel is back to normal.

These loans should also reasonably cover both payroll and non-payroll expenses. That’s why the current formula to determine a business’s maximum PPP loan is inadequate. The maximum loan available through PPP should be eight times the average monthly cost of all expenses up to $10 million (which represents eight months between from May 1 through the end of 2020). This will ensure that small businesses have sufficient liquidity to continue keeping employees on payroll while maintaining their operating expenses. When the economy comes roaring back to the life, hotels will be essential to facilitate American commerce.

Small business owners know what their businesses need to survive. That’s why it is so important for us to let Washington know what our economy needs. It’s said that government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers. Unless the PPP is adjusted to reflect the realities of running small businesses like hotels, the losers will outstrip the winners as the effects of the pandemic reverberate for months through the American economy.

Dr. Cecil Staton is President & CEO of Asian-American Hotel Owners Association, the world’s largest hotel owners association. AAHOA members own about one in two hotels in the United States. He also was a guest on the I Spy Radio Show on May 9th, 2020: “Flynn Goes Free. Plus Worrisome News on America’s Reopening“.

Guest Post: Where is Oregon in the Convention of States?

Guest Post: Where is Oregon in the Convention of States?

By Deborah Lee on July 16, 2015

Today’s post comes from Deborah Lee, the Oregon State Director for the Convention of States Project.

Our Federal government is the biggest intrusion into our everyday lives (and I’m not just talking about the recent Supreme Court decisions). We are fortunate that the Framers of our Constitution left us a solution to our badly overgrown federal government.

Deborah Lee, Oregon State Director, Convention of States Project
Deborah Lee, OR State Director, COS Project

Article V of the U.S. Constitution states that 2/3 of the state legislatures can call for an Amendment Convention. It’s a high bar, and intentionally so, but not too high if the need is great. The need is great and it’s clear that Washington D.C. will not fix itself.

We are hearing the beginning of a national debate on amendments which would rein in the size and scope of the federal government. Mark Levin has proposed 11 amendments in his book The Liberty Amendments. Levin’s book is a great read. Michael Farris is the head of our Convention of States Project and he has proposed other amendment ideas. I challenge you, dear readers, to consider your own amendments.

Convention of States – Who’s In?

So, 2/3 of the state legislatures equal 34 states. The Convention of States Project is working in a grassroots style to make an Article V Convention happen! We have four states that have approved their applications; Alaska, Georgia, Florida and Alabama. There are 32 states that are “in-process” this legislative season, and two that will file in the near future. That many states filing the same exact application is historic! Our goal is 40 states.

Oregon’s application is SJM 6. Sen. Brian Boquist is our Chief Sponsor. Sadly, our bill got stuck in the Senate Rules Committee and died there last week when the legislature adjourned for the session. However, we have learned a lot, and have changed our focus to lay the groundwork for the next legislative session in Salem.

Grassroots, Homeschool Style

Convention of States LogoOur strategy is to pass all 40 state applications in a grassroots, homeschool style of building public support. Grassroots, homeschool style is adults who don’t know how to lobby, but get in the car and go to the capital with their kids and learn by chatting with their legislators. Grassroots, homeschool style is adults who don’t know how to teach a topic, but they roll up their sleeves and sit down and study until they can explain it to their kids. And Grassroots, homeschool style is adults who know the power of prayer, the power of the old fashioned phone tree, and the power of calling your friends and family to explain the problem and what is needed to solve the problem. Homeschoolers did this in the battle against HR6 in 1994. (You can read about that battle here.) I was not homeschooling then, but my nephew and niece were. That might have been my first call to a legislator. I was scared, but I made the calls for them and their parents. I did it and so can you. Now we need to do it again. The good news is, we now have new technology like email, Facebook, Twitter and text alerts to make it a lot easier than phone and fax trees.

Michael Farris is also a Constitutional lawyer and a homeschool father of 10 children. He is the founder of Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), who along with Michael Smith, have fought for homeschool freedom in all 50 states over 35 years. Michael Farris and Michael Smith led that fight to defeat HR6 back in 1994. Today homeschoolers can educate their children in relative freedom because of their steadfast efforts.

How to Help Oregon get On Board

So, how can you help? First, listen to Mark Anderson’s interview with Michael Farris this weekend on the I Spy Radio Show. I can’t wait to hear it. Michael Farris is a fabulous speaker. (I have heard him at many a homeschool convention over the past 19 years.) Next, go to ConventionOfStates.com, and read and sign the petition to our Oregon legislators. We need a minimum of 100 signatures in every Oregon legislative district, especially those in Portland, Salem and Eugene. Thirdly, roll up your sleeves and sit down to study until you can teach this, simply, to someone else. It should be the length of an “elevator pitch” (as much time as you would have in an elevator with someone else to persuade them of your idea). Practice your elevator pitch to your spouse and your teens. Then make the pitch to your friends, neighbors, co-workers. We need every one of them to make this happen. We’re still early in the process but here in “liberal Oregon” we’ve already had more than 3,300 signers but we want thousands more to join to make Salem listen.

If you want to do more, we could use more District Captains. A District Captain’s main job is to get 100 people to sign the petition in their home legislative district. There is a job description you can read if you go to ConventionOfStates.com, click on “Get Involved” and “Be a Leader”.

If everyone does something, we will make this happen, even in Oregon! I can’t wait to see it happen! Will you please join me?

#     #     #

Contact: If you’d like get involved in Oregon, Deborah Lee can be reached via email ([email protected]). You can also sign the petition, whether you live in Oregon or anywhere, by heading to cosaction.com.