TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senators Paul A. Sarlo and Shirley K. Turner which would establish the “Main Street Business Assistance Program” to support local small and mid-sized businesses in the State was approved by the full Senate today by a vote of 37-3, receiving final legislative approval.
“New Jersey’s economic strength depends heavily on the many small and mid-sized businesses which dot our local landscapes and set up shop in storefronts along our major thoroughfares,” said Senator Sarlo, D-Bergen, Essex and Passaic, and Vice Chairman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. “These are businesses built from the ground up, by New Jerseyans and for New Jerseyans, providing access to jobs and investing in our communities. As we work to address the fall-out from the biggest economic meltdown since the Great Depression, we need to continue to support small and mid-sized business growth, and protect these businesses from the worst of the national crisis.”
The bill, S-4, would 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 would be administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) for a period of two years, and would be required to promulgate emergency rules to expedite the implementation of the program.
“When you talk about the economy, particularly in the context of the national economic crisis, for many people that conjures up images of Wall Street executives brokering multi-million dollar stock deals from their cell phones,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer, and a member of the Senate Budget Committee. “However, our local economy is mostly made up of small and mid-sized business entrepreneurs who are hurting from the volatility on Wall Street and aren’t subject to multi-billion dollar federal bail-out packages. For those business owners struggling to keep their heads above water during these difficult economic times, the ‘Main Street Business Assistance Program’ will provide short-term relief and continue to keep many of these businesses solvent.”
The bill now heads to the Governor to be signed into law.