American Rescue Plan is the lifeline Nevada needs
Sunday May 2, 2021 | 2 a.m
What do you see when you think of Las Vegas? For many it’s bright lights, slots, and world-class dining and entertainment.
Las Vegas is a magical place – that’s why it’s still the # 1 destination in the world. But what visitors see is only a fraction of the magic. All the glitz and glamor cannot exist without the hundreds of thousands of workers operating behind the scenes. I’m talking about the artists who put in countless hours of practice, ticket booths, stage managers, card dealers, cocktail waiters, light technicians, convention workers, restaurant waiters and bartenders – to name a few.
Nevada’s tourism and hospitality industries contribute $ 68 billion to our economy. It is no exaggeration to say that these employees are the backbone of our economy. For these workers, Vegas isn’t just a weekend getaway – it’s their livelihood, and for many, that livelihood has been taken away from them due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many Nevadians have barely held onto a thread since March of last year. COVID has brought unprecedented suffering to Silver State. For some, the emotional toll is no less painful than the economic one because thousands of places and restaurants have closed permanently.
Our dazzling lights have gone out because of COVID, but now I’m happy to say the help is here with the US bailout. The $ 1.9 trillion relief package that Congress passed and President Joe Biden enacted is already providing much needed help to our struggling restaurants and entertainment venues, with more help along the way.
You’ve probably heard a lot about direct payments for individuals, and maybe you’ve heard that our states and local governments get direct help. These provisions are important, but there is so much more to the US bailout to help Nevada recover and rebuild itself stronger than ever.
For starters, the plan allocates an additional $ 1.25 billion to the Closed Site Operator (SVOG) grant program, bringing its funding to more than $ 16 billion. Perhaps more importantly, the plan also ensures that sites that have applied for a Paycheck Protection Program (P3) loan after December 27, 2020 can also apply for an SVOG to cover their additional needs.
SVOG will be administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The app portal just opened on April 26 and is available to live venue operators, operators of live performing arts organizations, theater producers, museum operators, venue operators. filmmakers and talent representatives.
In addition, the US bailout establishes the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which will provide $ 28.6 billion in relief to hard-hit restaurants and bars.
These funds will bring relief to many restaurateurs in Nevada, like Vinny and Tina Cimino, whose restaurant I was fortunate enough to visit, Vinny’s Italian Pizzeria, on a recent trip to Boulder City. Their restaurant was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, but thanks to various grants and PPP loans, they were able to keep their doors open and their restaurant afloat.
I also fought tirelessly to bring additional relief to the Nevadans who were physically, emotionally and economically overwhelmed by their plight. I joined with my colleagues in asking the Internal Revenue Service to extend the income tax filing deadline from April 15 to May 17. I also fought to end surprise unemployment tax bills by including legislation that waived federal taxes on the first $ 10,200 in unemployment insurance received in 2020.
And, of course, we can’t forget the funding to get vaccines into the guns. Vaccines are the key to putting this pandemic behind us and reopening our conferences, shows and restaurants to full capacity. Due to the strong funding for the vaccines included in the US bailout, every Nevadan over the age of 16 is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and millions of vaccines are administered every day across the country. The benefits of receiving gunfire quickly cannot be overstated when it comes to getting our economy back on track.
It has been a long and tiring year, but that light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and brighter every day. The American Rescue Plan is the kind of big, bold action we need to revitalize our economy, and I have no doubts that it will make our city the # 1 destination in the world again.
Representative Susie Lee was elected to the 3rd seat of the Nevada Congressional District in 2018 and re-elected last year.