Question surfaces over stimulus loan eligibility

David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central. Graham County Supervisor Jim Palmer said the county has been in regular contact with Gov. Doug Ducey's office, as well as U.S. Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Matha McSally during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SAFFORD – During Monday’s Graham County Board of Supervisors meeting, longtime Supervisor Jim Palmer praised the communication with the counties by Gov. Doug Ducey’s staff as well as U.S. Senators Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema.

Palmer said Sinema has been especially helpful in getting information about help for small businesses in the $2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package. And he said he’s counting on her help after hearing contradictory information over the weekend.

“Her answer to us, when we spoke last, was that businesses are eligible for both of these, but the SBA came out over the weekend and said, ‘Choose one. If you got this one you don’t get this one.’ And that’s not what the law says,” Palmer said.

The stimulus contains two funding mechanisms for small business – Economic Injury Disaster Loans and the Paycheck Protection Program. The EIDL carries a fixed interest rate of 3.75 percent and borrowers can opt to have a repayment term of up to 30 years. Also the EIDL offers an advance of a portion of the loan – up to $10,000 – that would be disbursed just days after a loan application has been approved, and the advanced does not have to be repaid.

The PPP carries an interest rate of 1 percent and must be repaid in two years; however the entire loan will be forgiven if at least 75 percent of the loan is used to provide paychecks for employees who would otherwise not be earning a salary during the pandemic.