Ordinarily food and politics don’t mix, but the situation with restaurants in New York and across America has become so dire that National Restaurant Association Board Chair Melvin Rodrigue today testified on Tuesday before the House Ways and Means Committee, Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures. Rodrigue painted the dim future the industry faces unless Congress takes action to help restaurants and their employees.
“Restaurant owners are making business decisions for October based on the actions you take today,” Rodrigue told the committee. “I implore you — please take action before leaving town for the elections. If Congress adjourns without extending the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or providing other enhanced relief, more restaurants will close, more employees will lose their jobs and the pandemic economic crisis will deepen.”
Rodrigue reiterated the Association’s call for Congress to consider short-term assistance like the authorization of a second round of the PPP, with greater flexibility for both operating expenses and payroll outlays. Additionally, he encouraged the Subcommittee to consider long-term tools from the Association’s Blueprint for Restaurant Revival, including:
- Passing the Senate version of the RESTAURANTS Act, which takes a balanced approach to support independent and locally owned franchise restaurants,
- Ensuring that business expenses paid from PPP proceeds are tax deductible,
- Enacting a refundable tax credit to cover investments in equipment and safety, programs, and to set up social distancing in facilities amid a crippling economic climate,
- Enhancing the Employee Retention Tax Credit.
“Every American, has a place that is their favorite,” the chair said. “Regardless of the name on the door, restaurants are community cornerstones that provide a ladder of opportunity for employees.”