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Graphic Artists Guild

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featured image for congressional outreach

Plea to Congress to Support Individual Creators and Microbusinesses

The Guild Executive Committee a letter to Congress asking for greater economic support for freelancers, sole proprietors, and micro-businesses of under 10 employees. The letter was sent on behalf of Guild members and the larger community of illustrators and designers we represent. In recognition of the grave economic conditions our community is facing, the letter was sent to each individual member of Congress with a personalized plea for attention.

In the letter, the Guild related the difficulties our members have had in applying for economic assistance through the PPP and EIDL programs. Those difficulties include confusing messages from banks and lending institutions, difficulty filling out the forms, no access to financial advisors, changing expectations for the amount of financial relief available, and delays in hearing back from lenders until after the funds had dried up. The letter pointed out that larger “small businesses” of up to 500 employees, and with existing relationships with banks, were able to jump to the front of the queue.

The Guild also suggested a number of measures which future stimulus relief packages could adopt to ensure that our members receive funds. Those include substantial funding for the PPP and EIDL programs earmarked for microbusinesses, sole proprietors, and freelancers, with different entry points into the application process, and language that guarantees freelancers and contract workers may apply for unemployment benefits.

The letter concluded by asserting the economic value of microbusinesses, sole proprietors, and freelancers:

  • According to a study by Association of Enterprise Opportunity, businesses with under 5 employees (including the owner) constitute fully 92% of all US businesses and (as of 2011) employed over 26 million individuals.
  • That same study showed that in 2011, microbusinesses generated $42 billion in direct federal tax, and $52 billion in state and local taxes and fees.
  • Individually-owned businesses outstrip corporations; according to Tax Foundation, as of 2014 there were over 23 million sole proprietorships.

The Guild will continue to press for financial support for our members and the larger community of illustrators and designers.