District Update | April 7, 2020
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Dear Friends,

Yesterday afternoon, Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston joined me for a town hall discussion and Facebook Live event with central Arkansans.

Here are some highlights:

What are the details of the tax rebate?
It is a one-time tax rebate check of $1,200 per individual / $2,400 per couple and $500 per dependent for those with a valid Social Security number. The full rebate amount is available for individuals with incomes at or below $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for head of household, and $150,000 for married couples. Individuals making more than these thresholds will receive a reduced rebate check.

This income threshold will be calculated by using your 2018 or 2019 taxes, whichever you have filed most recently.

Arkansans that didn’t file taxes in 2018 or 2019 but who have a valid Social Security number are still eligible, but you need to sign up HERE

What if you’ve lost your job due to COVID-19?
Congress passed the CARES Act to help those suddenly unemployed through no fault of their own, and it extends unemployment benefits to more employees, helps them for longer, and adds to state benefits.

If you are self-employed, an independent contractor, or a sole proprietor, the CARES Act allows you to be covered and paid back to the date you closed your business.

The State of Arkansas administers unemployment insurance and is seeing a record number of applications. Please check their website HERE regularly for updates.

Do you still have to pay your student loans?
The president ended interest accrual on federal student loans through September 30, 2020. The CARES Act paused monthly repayment requirements for federal student loans for six months with no penalty. The interest accrual stoppage is automatic, but students must contact the Department of Education to pause their payments.

Federal student loan borrowers also will lose no time towards loan forgiveness programs, such as the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

In addition, a great new benefit of the CARES Act is that employers can now contribute $5,250 per year to help their employees pay off their federal student loans, which will not be taxed for the employee.

What help is available for homeowners and renters? 

The CARES Act provides homeowners affected by the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis with options available to reduce or suspend your monthly federally-backed mortgage payments. The first step is to contact your loan servicer (the company that sends the monthly mortgage payment statement).

The CARES Act also provides a reprieve until July 25, 2020, from eviction for renters who reside in properties with federally backed mortgage loans. Renters affected by the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis who live in multifamily properties financed by federally backed mortgages are eligible for relief from eviction if their landlord receives loan forbearance. If you are a renter and have questions about your options, please contact your landlord first.

On Friday, I joined Elicia Dover (KATV) to answer questions regarding the direct one-time tax rebates that many Arkansans have asked. To watch, click HERE or on the image below. 

Will young workers receive a tax rebate?
Dependents 17 and older will not get a check regardless of whether they work and file taxes themselves.

What if you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits?
Yes, you are still eligible to receive the one-time tax rebate from the CARES Act.

What if you owe back taxes?
Generally, your stimulus money won’t be withheld, but you should check your status on the Internal Revenue Service's COVID-19 page HERE

$23.6 Million in grants for Arkansas COVID-19 Response

U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Provides Grants to Assist Arkansas's Efforts Against COVID-19

I am pleased with how quickly the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) acted to support central Arkansas through funds directly to municipalities and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC).

These grants, which total over $23.6 million, come from the CARES Act and will support COVID-19 responses. The majority of the funds come from HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which can be used to make improvements to public facilities necessary to the COVID-19 response, support businesses to increase economic development, and provide increased public services during the outbreak.

The CARES Act allocated $5 billion to the CDBG program, and the first round of CDBG grants released and additional funding will be made available on a rolling basis. The following Arkansas municipalities received CDBG grants:

Conway - $269,734
Jacksonville - $123,984
Little Rock - $879,049, along with an additional $81,216 from the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program.
North Little Rock - $406,388
Fayetteville - $436,285
Fort Smith - $530,840
Hot Springs - $254,743
Jonesboro - $362,524
Pine Bluff - $411,412
Rogers - $270,024
Springdale - $478,318
Texarkana - $165,006
West Memphis - $186,531

In addition to the grants made directly to municipalities, HUD awarded AEDC over $10.8 million in CDBG funds to distribute, over $7.8 million from the Emergency Solutions Grant program, and $133,620 in HOPWA funding.

Assistance is available for Arkansas Small Businesses

Information Regarding the Paycheck Protection Program

The United States Treasury’s Paycheck Protection Program went live on April 3, 2020. It authorizes up to $349 billion toward job retention and other expenses for the millions of Americans employed by small businesses.  

Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, veterans’ organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards. For additional information from the Treasury's website, visit HERE

Which banks in Arkansas are ready to provide Paycheck Protection Program loans? 

The chart below outlines the current Small Business Administration (SBA) lenders in Arkansas. The ones under the preferred status are current preferred 7(a) lenders with the SBA and have the authority to provide PPP loans. Other banks should be granted authority in the near term.

Discussing the CARES Act on Fox Business

Solving the COVID-19 Public Health and Economic Crisis

Yesterday, I joined Charles Payne on Fox Business to discuss how the CARES Act will jumpstart the U.S. economy and carry us through to the other side of the COVID-19 crisis. We covered how the Paycheck Protection Program, the expansion of Unemployment Insurance (UI), and one-time tax rebates directly to the American people will support families and businesses. Click HERE or on the image below to watch the full interview. 

Allstate Paying Back $600 Million to Auto Insurance Customers

Helping Americans During This Trying Time

I was pleased to learn that Allstate, Esurance, and Encompass are giving their personal auto insurance customers a Shelter-in-Place Payback. Most customers will receive 15% of their monthly premium in April and May, which adds up to more than $600 million. Customers will receive their money back through a credit to their bank account, credit card or Allstate account. The fastest way for customers to receive this payback is to utilize the Allstate Mobile app which can be found HERE.  

To read more, click HERE or on the image below.

Meeting the demand for PPE in Arkansas

Little Rock School District Providing 3D Printers

I’m proud that Arkansans are stepping up and setting an example of leadership during this crisis. Thank you to the Little Rock School District (LRSD) for providing 3D printers that are being used by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) to create the headband piece of protective face shields. This partnership between UALR, the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, and local businesses is taking the lead on mass-producing face shields to meet the needs of healthcare professionals in Little Rock and eventually, Arkansas. 

I appreciated Dr. Lawrence Whitman, Dean of UALR College of Engineering and Information Technology, Jay Chessir, CEO of Little Rock Regional Chamber, and all of the students who explained the manufacturing process to me on Friday afternoon.

Supporting our local restaurants

Pick Up or Take Out If You are Able

If you are able, help support your local restaurants with take out and pick up orders. As I'm sure you're aware, social distancing measures in place to slow the spread of the virus have had a tremendous impact on our restaurants. By still patronizing your favorite spots, you can help them weather this crisis and make it through to the other side. 

For a list of restaurants that are offering carry out, curbside pick up, and delivery for their customers, click HERE or on the image below. 

Representative French Hill 
Representative French Hill

Office Locations
Washington, DC Office
1533 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2506
Fax: (202) 225-5903
Conway Office
1105 Deer Street, Suite 12
Conway, AR 72032
Phone: (501) 358-3481
Fax: (501) 358-3494
Little Rock Office
1501 N. University Ave., Suite 630
Little Rock, AR 72207
Phone: (501) 324-5941
Fax: (501) 324-6029
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