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Business News Roundup, March 17, 2021

A new leader for the U.S. Small Business Administration, overwhelming support to extend the Paycheck Protection Program and a presidential visit on small business support, programs to help Black developers access capital, the impact of the housing market on materials prices, a promise from Connecticut’s governor on business taxes, and a look at how Connecticut restaurants weathered the COVID-19 pandemic are among the top business news items this morning.


The Senate has confirmed Isabel Guzman as the next leader of the U.S. Small Business Administration in an 81-17 vote. Guzman formerly served as the SBA’s deputy chief of staff and California’s Small Business Advocate.

The House of Representatives has overwhelmingly supported a bill to extend the deadline for the Paycheck Protection Program. The measure, which was approved in a 415-3 vote and now goes to the Senate, would bump the current March 31 deadline to May 31.

President Joe Biden highlighted his administration’s efforts to support small businesses during a visit to a Pennsylvania flooring company. The administration estimates that 400,000 small businesses have closed due to COVID-19, with millions more facing an uncertain future.

Business trends

A New York Times article highlights the role of Black developers in the real estate market, including their challenges in accessing capital. The article says analysts have advocated that banking institutions that are making efforts to assist communities of color need to include these developers in their strategy to support efforts at building or renovating affordable housing and commercial properties in low-income communities.

A boom in the U.S. housing market is raising prices on several materials, according to the Department of Labor’s producer price index. Wood, copper, bricks, granite, insulation, and concrete blocks are among the items that have become considerably more costly.


Governor Ned Lamont told the Connecticut Business & Industry Association that he does not believe higher taxes are necessary in Connecticut and that he opposes some legislative measures that would create new taxes. In particular, he said he does not agree with a “mansion tax” proposal that would collect taxes on more valuable residential and commercial properties to provide more money for municipalities.

The Connecticut Mirror has launched a series examining the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on several business sectors in Connecticut. This week looks at the state’s restaurant industry.

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