“BOZEMAN, MT. – The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act aimed to help protect Americans and our economy through the COVID-19 outbreak has passed the House. AFFTA is excited to report that there have been funds allocated for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) through the Small Business Administration (SBA), a case-by-case temporary suspension of tariff payments, payroll tax relief and a fund specifically dedicated to the fishing industry.
The fly fishing industry is such a close community, it’s brutal not to be able to offer immediate help to your neighbors and friends,” says Ben Bulis, AFFTA president. “When we sent our letter to Sec. Mnuchin, House and Senate leadership and the White House asking for relief specifically for our industry, we hoped our requests wouldn’t get lost in the noise. While we in no way can claim that our letter had a direct affect, we were heard loud and clear. There’s no doubt about that.”
AFFTA offered three recommendations that would offer direct relief to the fly fishing industry:
1. Eliminate Sec. 301 tariffs applied to fly fishing products/product codes
2. Eliminating payroll taxes paid by employers through July;
3. Streamlining and expediting loan program to provide zero-interest loans or grants for small- and medium-sized businesses with less than 250 employees.
In addition to the temporary case-by-case suspension of tariff payments, payroll tax relief measures and ensuring the viability of the SBA loans for small businesses, an additional $300 million has been included “to provide direct financial assistance to all manner of fishers, fishery participants, and communities that have been affected by coronavirus.”
“Right now, all of the details about application and distribution haven’t been made available,” adds Bulis. “But our finger is on the pulse of this and we will share everything we learn as soon as we hear. Keep your heads up. We will make it through this.”
AFFTA guides the sustainable growth of the fly fishing industry through trade development and stewardship. We accomplish this by advocating for the industry and empowering our members to improve their businesses through collaboration, education and building community; along with advocating for healthy fisheries and engaging our members and partners to support protection, restoration, and access.