Restaurant Revitalization Increase

March 6, 2021
Massachusetts Restaurant Association
Senate Passes American Rescue Plan and Increases Restaurant Revitalization Fund to $28.6 billion
Today, the Senate passed the American Rescue Plan, including increasing the Restaurant Revitalization Fund to $28.6 billion. We have been collectively advocating for an industry-specific recovery fund since the onset of the pandemic and we will continue supporting measures that help all restaurants in need. 
We look forward to prompt consideration of the American Rescue Plan in the House and getting this legislation onto the President's desk for his signature.
MRA continues to work on and push for legislation surrounding:
  • State taxation of PPP for certain entities
  • MGCC grants subject to state and federal taxation
  • UI rate schedule increase
Boston Globe editorializes in favor of proposal to make sure that PPP funds remain tax fee in Massachusetts, address UI concerns.
Boston Globe Saturday March 6, 2021
Tax fixes critical to keeping Mass. jobs
Lawmakers shouldn’t penalize employers who did right by their workers.
There may indeed be light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, but for Massachusetts businesses, especially small businesses and restaurants, the economic hit and the financial pain is still very real.
The solution to some of these businesses’ financial woes remains in the hands of the Legislature right now — but timing is critical. And this is no time for lawmakers to move at their often-leisurely pace — a pace slowed by the very pandemic that has spurred the pressing economic crisis.
One proposal would fix a glitch in state tax law that if not remedied will hit small businesses that, after receiving federal funds under the Payroll Protection Program, did what was intended by Congress: They passed those funds along to their workers. Those small businesses now face a state tax liability approaching $150 million — a liability Congress didn’t intend and the Baker administration is perfectly fine not collecting.
So does a pending rate increase in the state’s unemployment insurance that would punch local business in the financial gut just as many are beginning to recover. Again, this is no small amount of money — the rate hike that would kick in is estimated at 60 percent. The average increase to business per employee would go from $539 to $866, according to an analysis by Associated Industries of Massachusetts..........
The fixes to both tax dilemmas are critical at a time when the business climate is still fragile.
Baker administration officials told a joint hearing of the House and Senate Ways and Means Committees that, without the change in state law, small-business owners (those who are taxed via personal income tax rather than corporate taxes) will be liable for about $150 million in taxes on forgiven federal PPP loans, and between $25 million and $35 million on state grants awarded by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation..........
Senator Eric Lesser had already filed a bill to do just that. It now has more than 100 House and Senate cosponsors and the support of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association and the Massachusetts Society of CPAs. The latter is urging at least some major signal of agreement during tax filing season — so those businesses could ask for an extension while lawmakers hash things out.....
The tax hike adjustment would save businesses about $500 million, but is considerably more complex than Lesser’s bill because it also proposes to assess employers an as-yet-unspecified surcharge to repay that $7 billion in state borrowing......
This isn’t about doing “favors” for business. This is about keeping those businesses — and with them, those jobs and business owners — going. Any lawmaker who can’t see that needs a refresher course in Economics 101.
Complete Editorial can be found here:
Q). Is singing allowed indoors?
A).  Massachusetts has returned to Phase 3, step 2. Restaurants wishing to have musical performances must follow the guidelines for theaters and performance venues.
For live performances, singing and the playing of brass and wind instruments is discouraged. Singing is not permitted in any indoor performance venues. For outdoor performances involving singing or indoor and outdoor performances involving brass or wind instruments, special distancing must be followed:
  • At least 10 feet between performers
  • At least 25 feet between performers and first row of the audience
  • Plexiglass barriers cannot be used to reduce required distance between performers or between performers and the audience

We will have more information as it becomes available on how restaurants can go about maximizing access to this fund.