Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves is encouraging small businesses to get a jump on filling out applications for the Payroll Protection Act. Small businesses can apply to receive low-interest loans, with money that is used for payroll being forgiven. Graves says applications will be accepted starting April 3.

“We wanted people to look at the information that is needed to start pulling it together and start filling out the applications now where they can get earlier in the queue and be ready to go as soon as those applications are accepted,” said Graves.

The program is part of the $2.2 trillion emergency relief legislation, but this particular allocation is subject to a funding cap, adding to the urgency of filing quickly.

Money used to fund other aspects of compensation like benefits such as healthcare and retirement will also be forgivable. Graves says the funds will help keep businesses from making layoffs and firings.

“It’s just trying to provide our temporary lifeline to keep our economy going and ultimately just to keep our families above water,” said Graves.

Graves says the funding is not intended to float the payrolls of small businesses for the rest of the year.

“This is really designed to get us through a shorter period of time, and I’ll just take a guesstimate, about a four-month period,” said Graves.

(Story written by Kevin Barnhart/Louisiana Radio Network)