Late last night the Senate finally passed a bill to address the devastating economic effects of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, but not before carving out some giant loopholes for big businesses, including the Trump Organization.
A bill that should be squarely aimed at helping American workers now includes tax breaks for major corporations and loopholes that let companies who cut workers reward their shareholders. It even includes a tax break first detailed by Accountable.US that could be used to benefit the president’s own hotels.
From The New York Times:
For example, on Page 15 of the bill, there is a section with the title “Business Concerns With More Than 1 Physical Location.” It says this change in federal law will apply to companies that fit “a North American Industry Classification System code beginning with 72” — a reference that turns out to mean the hotel and restaurant industry.
The provision says that if a company owns multiple hotels, even if the overall hotel or restaurant chain has more than 500 employees — the limit to qualify for treatment as a small business — it will still be able to take advantage of the small-business benefits offered in the rescue package.
That means loans from the federal government worth up to 2.5 times the firm’s monthly payroll that will not have to be repaid if the company uses them to keep paying employees during any coronavirus shutdowns.
The provision could benefit the Trump Organization, which operates a relatively small chain, with six hotels in the United States in cities including New York, Washington and Chicago. Several Trump hotels are members of the trade association.
The bill also includes a provision that allows Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to waive prohibitions on stock buybacks, dividend payments, or salary increases, at his discretion. And permits companies receiving bailout funds to cut up to 10% of their workforce anyways.
Quote from Kyle Herrig, President of Accountable.US: “Not only did Trump’s Senate allies quietly include him in the bailout, they inserted permission slips for bailed out companies to axe ten percent of their workforce and then pass the profits on to shareholders. This carve out will do nothing more than stimulate the bank accounts of the president and his CEO friends.”