Town Hall recap: A conversation with Senator Sherrod Brown

Written on Jun 25, 2020

By Nicole Fracasso, OSCPA communications intern 

Certainty is in short supply now when it comes to the economic impact of COVID-19, but that’s what people crave the most, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown said June 19 at OSCPA’s “Town Hall” webcast. 

Brown joined OSCPA president and CEO Scott Wiley, CAE, to discuss COVID-19 recovery efforts, the state of affairs around racial justice, and to answer questions from attendees. 

First, Brown was asked about the deductibility of forgiven loans regarding Senate Bill 3612, which would amend the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to provide tax deductions to ordinary business expenses. 

sherrod_brown_062609_color2“We got a lot of input from the small business community and people who serve the small business community,” he said. “I think we also made mistakes as we did this."

Overall, Brown said Payroll Protection Plan has been a success, but that legislators did make some mistakes because they had to respond quickly. 

“I’d be open to deductibility for truly small businesses, but before we decide that, we need transparency out of PPP,” he said., referring to his desire to see the list of all recipients published.Another option being considered is expanding PPP assistance to the 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization community. 

“I know PPP got off to a rough start, but I also know it’s provided a lot of help,” he said. “It kept a lot of people in business and a lot of employees on the job.” 

In addition, Brown shared that the Heroes Act passed, and included a provision to make 501(c)(6) businesses eligible for PPP. 

“I would encourage all you CPAs watching as active members of the Ohio Society to let your House and Senate members know how important it is that we do the next package,” he said. 

Brown was asked about the Remote and Mobile Worker Relief Act of 2020 (S. 3995), which would create uniformity for nonresident tax withholding across states and local jurisdictions, and a de minimis exemption. The bill is like the mobile workforce bills that OSCPA and the AICPA have supported in the past few sessions of Congress; the major change is that it includes language tailored to remote workforce tax issues created by the pandemic. Brown, a lead sponsor along with Sen. John Thune, R-SD, said, for example, that the 30-day threshold to help ensure tax is paid to the state and local jurisdictions has been extended to 90 days during the COVID crisis since so many are working remotely. 

“My commitment is to continue to fight for it,” he said. “I’ve had conversations with the people who have blocked it who aren’t backing off but understand that we aren’t giving up.” 

Brown also shared that he is concerned about what’s going to happen at the end of July when unemployment runs out. 

“There is an urgency to make these decisions, so people have some certainty to what their lives are going to look like a month, two months or three months from now,” he said. 

In addition, Brown was asked about the issues of racism, specifically the murder of George Floyd and what the federal government should be doing. 

He replied that holding police accountable is a step in the right direction, and that he hopes to begin the debate on the Justice and Policing Act which calls for police reform. This would mean no more chokeholds, no more unchecked police conduct and no more immunity from prosecution, he said. 

“I think there is going to be more of a call for justice, as there should be,” Brown said.

To learn more from Brown, click here to watch the video in full. ">To learn more from Brown, click here to watch the video in full.

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