[StBernard] Governor Blanco, Lieutenant Governor Landrieu, LRA, LED Propose Plans to Reallocate $100 Million of
westley at da-parish.com
Thu Dec 7 15:22:56 EST 2006
Governor Blanco, Lieutenant Governor Landrieu, LRA, LED
Propose Plans to Reallocate $100 Million of Relief Funds
to Pilot Grant Program for Small Businesses
Initiative to target businesses in most impacted areas
BATON ROUGE, La. (December 7, 2006) - Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu, the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) and the Louisiana Department of Economic Development (LED) announced that she is proposing a $100 million dollar pilot grant program for small business. This comes on top of a $38 million dollar program in grants and loans to small businesses struggling to rebound from last year's storms.
"Louisiana's small businesses are the backbone of our economy. Their recovery is essential to our vitality and the full recovery of communities across our state," said Governor Blanco. "We will continue to assist our small businesses as they fully recover from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita because Louisiana's economic prosperity depends on it."
Governor Blanco is recommending that $100 million of the economic development disaster recovery programs be reallocated to provide much-needed grants to small businesses. This amount is in addition to the $38 million already allocated for no interest loans. The additional funds would provide financial relief to sustain and restart small businesses in the most severely impacted areas, primarily in Orleans, St. Bernard, Plaquemines and Cameron Parishes.
This will require an action plan amendment for approval by the LRA's board of directors, the full legislature and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The LRA, LED and partners at Office of Community Development and the Louisiana Public Facilities Authority are working to expedite this process.
"From the beginning, we recognized that a significant loss of tourists meant that the thousands of small businesses that make up the character of south Louisiana were in jeopardy," said Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu. "I'm proud that the tourism industry came together and spoke with one voice - pushing a congressional appropriations request to congress that made the case for small business grants. Tourism is a vital part of our state's economic recovery, and I'm eager for these funds to get into the hands of small businesses owners, who are the backbone of our industry."
The Action Plan amendment will be available for public comment beginning on Friday, Dec. 8. The LRA Board will vote on the recommended changes on Thursday, Dec. 14.
The Action Plan amendment will then go to the full legislature for a vote and will subsequently be sent to HUD for final approval.
Small business representatives met with Governor Blanco recently in New Orleans. Their input helped shape the provisions of the proposed plan.
"Finally, we will have some relief for our small businesses that are the backbone of our country and our state," said Laura Drumm, President of Second Wind NOLA. "On behalf of our more than 1,000 members, we thank the Governor, the LRA and LED for recognizing the importance of small business and addressing our needs through this program."
"I personally canvassed many of the businesses in the French Quarter. As I went from business to business I quickly learned that we were all experiencing the same challenges and we were all just desperately trying to keep our businesses open until the normal business came back to the city," said Chef Paul Prudhomme. "Many are trying to stay through the holidays and are using the beginning of the New Year (January 1st) as their date to make decisions. Many businesses are concerned that if the character of the Quarter is lost because these unique businesses close, large national companies may move in and change the entire perspective of the Quarter and in turn, tourism will definitely be affected. Time is of the essence!"
To be eligible for the program, businesses must:
- Have no more than 25 employees (Single-employee businesses are eligible if they sell tangible goods such as clothing)
- Have been open six months prior to either hurricanes Katrina or Rita
- Have reopened or demonstrate the potential to reopen
- Be located in towns, parishes or zip codes that sustained at least 40 percent of the damage (see attached list) and experienced either:
1. Tangible losses of more than $10,000 OR
2. Greater than 30 per cent decline in revenue compared to the same quarter before the storm(s)
"The recovery of small businesses must be in lock step with the rest of our rebuilding efforts," said LRA Economic and Workforce Development Task Force Chairman Matt Stuller. "Their ability to succeed is a critical piece of this puzzle. That is exactly why we developed this program - to keep people in business and help others open their doo! rs once again. Our merchants, fishermen, restaurateurs and artists are counting on us."
Pending final approval of the proposed Action Plan amendment, the state will determine
eligible amounts and expects to begin accepting applications in early January. Interested businesses should sign up to receive updates at LouisianaForward.com.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated South Louisiana, claiming 1,464 lives, destroying more than 200,000 homes and 18,000 businesses and inflicting about $25 billion in insured losses. The Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) is the planning and coordinating body that was created in the aftermath of these storms by Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco to lead one of the most extensive rebuilding efforts in the world. The LRA is a 33-member body which is coordinating across jurisdictions, supporting community recovery and resurgence, ensuring integrity and effectiveness, and planning for the recovery and rebuilding of Louisiana.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW AREAS OF ELIGIBILITY
The Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation
Louisiana's Fund for Louisiana's People
More information about the StBernard