At least 68 Florida road contractors with active state projects were approved for loans of more than $150,000 under the federal government’s Payroll Protection Program (PPP), the Wall Street Journal has reported.
The Journal reported that the companies said they applied for the program because they faced great uncertainty back in April despite their existing contracts. The Government Accountability Office said it’s aware of the “potential issue” of government contractors receiving PPP funds, but has “not made any final determinations as of yet.”
The question of whether contractors benefitting from government contracts should have accessed the program has resulted in some controversy.
“If you had contracts on the books and were being paid and were in a strong financial situation, you shouldn’t have taken the money,” said Steve Ellis, president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan government-spending watchdog.
The Treasury Department purposely set a low bar for companies to receive funds and allowed businesses to certify their own eligibility in the hopes of getting money out swiftly during the economic crisis. Going forward, though, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other officials and lawmakers want more restrictions in order to make sure the companies getting loans have experienced declining revenues.