Today, United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu [D-La., pictured], chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, announced her intention to introduce an amendment that would offer businesses with Small Business Administration [SBA] disaster loans from the 2005 and 2008 hurricanes, interest relief of up to $15,000. Sen. Thad Cochran [R-Miss.] has indicated he intends to co-sponsor the measure.
"Businesses along the Gulf Coast have faced some of the worst disasters this country has ever seen," Sen. Landrieu said. "To this day, many of these businesses are struggling to pay down loans made from the hurricanes in 2005 and 2008.
"Now, they are being faced with another disaster that is threatening their way of life once again. With the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico impacting businesses in Louisiana and along the entire Gulf Coast, we have the opportunity to offer some relief.
"This amendment allows the SBA to offer interest relief to small businesses with existing loans. It is my hope that this amendment will be adopted quickly when the full Senate considers the Supplemental next week."
The proposal would apply to disaster loans made after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike. SBA would be required to prioritize applications for businesses with 50 employees or less, and businesses impacted by the BP oil spill. Businesses would still be responsible for the principal and the remaining interest of their loans. According to loan data from the SBA, this program could potentially help up to 12,000 businesses.
This amendment is similar to a bill, S. 2986, the Southeast Hurricanes Small Business Disaster Relief Act of 2010 -- introduced by Sens. Landrieu, Cochran and Roger Wicker [R-Miss.] -- which was endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce this week. To read the letter of endorsement, go to: http://bit.ly/Chamber2986.
What's good for America's 27.2 million small businesses is good for the entire country -- especially since we create 60-80 percent of all new jobs here.
Sen. Landrieu's proposal will help small businesses impacted by myriad forms of disaster, and deserves swift action -- before the next oil spill, hurricane, tornado, wildfire, etc., brings livelihoods to a far-reaching halt.
SOURCES: GovTrack, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Shop Amazon.com: Green Office for Environmentally Friendly Office Supplies, Electronics, Furniture, Lighting & Accessories.