Image shows a man and woman in a meeting room
Matt Schewel, left, and Cynthia Healthcoe were among an HFA delegation meeting with members of Congress during the association's 2019 Washington Fly-in.

HFA members, contact your elected leaders now

The Home Furnishings Association urges members to contact their elected representatives and ask for help to protect their businesses through the public health crisis.

A sample message to members of Congress might say this:

Dear Representative (Name) or Senator (Name):

Communities across the country are in crisis amid the uncertainty of the coronavirus outbreak. As a furniture retail business owner, this uncertainty has severely impacted my employees, customers and our ability to operate. We are working to comply with various federal, state and local declarations, but the larger effect of those efforts has led to furniture retail business slowing to a halt.

The paid sick and paid family leave provisions impacting businesses with fewer than 500 employees recently signed by President Trump create a significant burden. The 100 percent refundable tax credit is helpful, but the advance payment of those credits included in the recent Senate Republican stimulus proposal, The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, will be critical for my business to maintain cash flow during this crisis.

Other key provisions include the Qualified Improvement Property technical correction. This is an overdue fix to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which will immediately allow furniture retailers and other industries to realize bonus depreciation benefits that were intended by Congress, retroactively to 2018. I also support the broader tax flexibility provided in the Senate proposal.

The Small Business Interruption Loan Program, funded at $300 billion, will save many businesses. We are trying to do the right thing for our employees, customers and continued operations. These loans will provide desperately needed capital for businesses trying to navigate these unprecedented times. I also support the loan forgiveness aspects to the Senate CARES proposal. Please make sure there are enough resources in place to expedite the processing of loans so that cash-strapped businesses can get immediate relief.

I also favor a mandatory default forbearance period and foreclosure stay by all banks and financial institutions for the next 12 months. This would provide relief if a default occurred because a business could not meet its obligations to a bank or other lender due to severely decreased income during the crisis.

The survival of my business at stake. I appreciate Congress moving forward quickly on proposals that help relieve the pain we all feel. More will need to be done as the fallout continues.

Sincerely,

(Name and business)

[Find your local, state and federal elected representatives]

[HFA COVID-19 resources]

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