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Sarlo-Turner-Girgenti ‘Main Street Business Assistance Program’ Signed Into Law

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senators Paul A. Sarlo and Shirley K. Turner and co-sponsored by Senator John A. Girgenti which will establish the “Main Street Business Assistance Program” to support local small and mid-sized businesses in the State was signed into law today by Governor Corzine.

“The economic success of New Jersey lies in the thriving small and mid-sized businesses found along local throughways throughout the State,” said Senator Sarlo, D-Bergen, Essex and Passaic, and Vice Chairman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. “However, as the economy gets worse, consumers have less expendable income to spend, meaning that many of these businesses do not have the resources to survive the current national crisis. Through this new law, New Jersey is doing its part to protect businesses that have long-standing roots in the State, and in so doing, we’re preserving the economic engine that drives so many local communities.”

The new law, S-4, will appropriate $50 million from the Surplus Revenue Fund to the Economic Recovery Fund to establish the “Main Street Business Assistance Program.” The program is designed to provide loans and guarantees to small and mid-size businesses and not-for-profit corporations to encourage community investment and grow the State’s economy during the current national economic crisis. Under the bill, the program will be administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) for a period of two years, and the agency will be required to promulgate emergency rules to expedite the implementation of the program.

“As the economic picture gets bleaker and bleaker, we’ve heard a lot of talk from Washington about bail-outs for massive industries,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer, and a member of the Senate Budget Committee. “Unfortunately, the economic stimulus being promoted by our national leaders, while needed, does little to protect mom and pop shops and other small and mid-sized businesses that are such a vital part of Main Street, America. With this new law, New Jersey is sending the message that all businesses – from multi-billion dollar investing firms and auto industry giants to the local barber shop and the corner deli – are important to our State’s economic salvation.”

“Through this law, we’re saying that no business is too small for some much-needed economic stimulus in New Jersey,” said Senator Girgenti, D-Passaic and Bergen. “In these trying economic times, we know that everyone is hurting, but small and mid-sized businesses have not benefitted from billion-dollar bailouts issued by the federal government. This law ensures that small and mid-sized business owners have access to the support they need to get through the current economic storm raging across the nation.”

The bill was approved by the Senate in November, and received final legislative approval yesterday in the Assembly.

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