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Global Public Policy

This week’s COVID-19 response from Washington, DC

March 20, 2020

Amidst a week of mandatory closures and lockdowns to combat the COVID-19 virus, ICSC has been working aggressively with policymakers and other impacted industries to limit the economic damage that will undoubtedly be caused by the pandemic. 

Working with a group of industry CEOs, ICSC President & CEO Tom McGee has been advocating on behalf of the industry on the immediate need for liquidity for consumer-facing businesses. He sent a letter to Congress and the Administration asking that the Federal government immediately guarantee or directly pay for business interruption coverage for retailers, restaurants and other tenants as well as landlords. This proposal continues to be discussed with Congress and the Administration along with various federally guaranteed loan programs to get a liquidity patch in place as quickly as possible.

ICSC called upon its members to support the effort by sending emails to Senators and Representatives. In the span of 48 hours, ICSC members and allies sent more than 40,000 emails to Congress. You can add your voice to the effort by clicking here

We expect the third COVID-19 package to be discussed over the weekend in the Senate with House consideration expected next week. We also anticipate additional stimulus packages to follow as we unwind the damage that is being done across the economy.

Combined with our legislative request is the need for banking regulators to immediately support leniency from financial institutions regarding the credit conditions of businesses facing short-term challenges, including abatement and foreclosure relief for commercial properties, offering extended grace periods and short-term loans and a potential moratorium on interest payments or default provisions of loans. It is our hope that regulators will respond to this need within their current regulatory authority and not require legislative guidance.

As of this writing, U.S. Senate Republicans had unveiled a legislative package intended to deliver capital infusion into the economy. This package includes several tax proposals that ICSC believes need to be put in to effect immediately including: 

  • Retroactive 15-year depreciation of Qualified Improvement Property (QIP)
  • 5-year Net Operating Loss (NOL) Carryback, with the removal of the 80% taxable income limitation to allow an NOL to fully offset income
  • Suspension of the Limitation on Losses from Pass-through Businesses
  • Relaxation of Limitation on the Business Interest Deduction to allow businesses deduct to 50% of their taxable income for 2019 and 2020
  • Delay of Tax Filing to July 15 and Payment of Estimated Payments until October 15
  • Delay of Payment of Employer Payroll Taxes

The legislation also includes Recovery Rebates for Individuals, which we believe is of nominal utility in the current situation since there are limited opportunities for these dollars to be deployed into the economy. (Provides up to $1,200 for individuals; $2,400 for married couples. Those amounts increase by $500 for every child. The rebate phases out for incomes over $99,000 (single) and $198,000 (married couples).