Thompson, Kelly, Panetta and Horsford Reintroduce the Keeping the Lights on Act

Jan 28, 2021
Press Release
Bill creates tax credit to help businesses stay open during the pandemic

Washington – Today Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05), Rep. Mike Kelly (PA-16) Rep. Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), and Rep. Steven Horsford (NV-04) announced the introduction of the Keeping the Lights on Act. This bipartisan bill provides Federal support to small businesses to help them pay essential fixed costs, such as rent or utilities, during the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Our local small businesses have been hit hard by the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and it’s essential we continue providing support so they can stay open. They need help not just to make payroll, but to pay fixed costs, like rent or mortgage payments, to stay afloat,” said Thompson. “That’s why I am proud to reintroduce the Keeping the Lights on Act, a bipartisan bill to use the tax code to support our local small businesses. This is a simple tax credit that can make the difference not just for small companies, but for the workers they employ, and the local job markets they support. I will push to get this bill passed as soon as we can.”

“Small businesses across America are struggling to because of the pandemic. The bipartisan Keeping the Lights on Act will ease their burden by providing a crucial tax credit for every day fixed costs like rent, mortgage, or utility payments during this difficult period,” said Kelly. “A successful economic recovery will require small businesses to survive and thrive, and our bill aims to help them achieve that goal.”

“As we near one year of enduring this pandemic, small businesses across the Central Coast are continuing to struggle to pay expenses,” said Panetta.  “The Keeping the Lights on Act will help employers and employees by providing tax credits to help cover the cost of rent, mortgage payments, and utilities.  This legislation will not only help those small businesses survive, it will allow them to remain an important part of our communities.”

“The devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has left many of Nevada’s small and medium-sized businesses struggling to pay their bills. These mom-and-pop shops and community institutions are the engine of Nevada’s economy, and they deserve our help,” said Horsford. “While federal coronavirus relief packages have helped cover payroll and some operational costs, there is still more Congress needs to do. The Keeping the Lights on Act of 2021 will provide much-needed federal support for rent, utility, and mortgage payments to keep businesses afloat and support the unwavering determination of American business owners during this challenging time.”

The Keeping the Lights on Act was first introduced in May 2020. The bill builds on existing programs to provide immediate relief during the Coronavirus pandemic through the tax code to small and medium-sized businesses for keeping critical business infrastructure in place. Specifically, the bill creates a new, fully refundable payroll tax credit that covers 50 percent of fixed costs for businesses that have either 1,500 or fewer employees, or $41.5 million or less in gross receipts. You can click here to read a copy of the bill text.


Congressman Mike Thompson is proud to represent California’s 5th Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties. He is a senior member of the House Committee on Ways and Means where he chairs the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures. Rep. Thompson is Chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. He is also Co-Chair of the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus and a member of the fiscally-conservative Blue Dog Coalition.