Kim Guadagno is still cutting red tape while she is feeding thousands
By Art Gallagher
N.J. Looks to Award $2 Million to Buy Meals from Struggling Restaurants– A $2 million state program to provide $100,000 grants to organizations that purchase meals from restaurants impacted by the pandemic and distribute them at no cost to New Jersey residents has begun taking applications. Applications are due by Jan. 8. Click here for more information. (ROI-NJ)
I got excited when I read the above headline and lede in yesterday’s NJ Chamber of Commerce’s daily Coronavirus and Economic Recovery Update.
The RAINE Foundation immediately occurred to me as an organization that could spring to action and support local businesses while feeding those struggling to put food on the table. In my mind I was thinking of other community organizations and restaurants that could participate.
My enthusiasm quickly dissipated when I clicked through to Business.NJ.Gov and read the fine print. There’s the usual hoops to jump through for government work–proving your entity is registered with the state and has no outstanding tax issues. But there’s one big obstacle that would probably knock my friends at RAINE, the Highlands Business Partnership, Middletown Helps Its Own and other non-profits from participating in the NJ Economic Development Authority’s grant program.
Trenton, NJ – Governor Chris Christie today announced that the State of New Jersey has been approved by the U.S. Department of Treasury for $33.8 million in funding through the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), part of the federal Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, to encourage small business lending and job creation in the state. The intent of the SSBCI, which is to create jobs and strengthen state lending programs, mirrors New Jersey’s recent efforts to enhance its support of the state’s small business community.”Small businesses are the job creating engines of New Jersey’s economy and we’ve made support for small business a top priority through targeted tax cuts, regulatory relief and lending programs,” said Governor Christie. “This funding being made available through the State Small Business Credit Initiative will strengthen our ongoing efforts to help small businesses succeed and grow in our state and create good paying, lasting jobs for New Jersey families.”
Governor Christie has made economic development a top priority by ensuring that New Jersey becomes a business-friendly state. Through the New Jersey Partnership for Action, under the direction of Lt. Governor Guadagno, the Christie Administration has implemented an aggressive economic development agenda, including overhauling state government’s regulatory system and reducing the red tape that stifles economic growth and imposes costs on businesses and citizens. The Governor’s Fiscal Year 2012 Budget provided for $185 million in targeted, job creating business tax relief and incentives to spur growth. When fully phased in over 5 years, the Governor’s tax policy changes will provide $2.35 billion in job creating tax relief. By implementing these policies, Governor Christie has ensured that New Jersey will once again be “Open for Business.”
The funds from SSBCI will be received by the New Jersey Department of Treasury in three tranches over two years, based upon at least an 80-percent commitment of the first and then second distributions. Through a Memorandum of Understanding, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) will use the funds to deploy loans, credit guarantees and loan participations through its existing small business lending programs, and to make a venture capital investment. Funds will be targeted to small businesses, small manufacturers, and women and minority-owned enterprises, with a particular focus on businesses that are located in underserved communities throughout New Jersey.
As part of this effort, the EDA Board today took action to enhance its portfolio by expanding access to capital for small businesses. The Board approved an increase in the funding available through the EDA’s Fund for Community Economic Development (FCED) to support micro lenders, Community Development Financial Institutions and Urban Enterprise Zones that have a successful lending track record in their local communities. Under the “Loan to Lenders” component of the FCED, organizations with a successful EDA history will now be able to qualify for up to $750,000, an increase of $250,000 from what was previously available; new customers may qualify for up to $500,000. The loan term has been extended to up to 15 years, with interest-only payments for up to five years. Previously, terms were available for up to ten years, with interest-only payments for up to three years. Additionally, the use of funds has been expanded to also include lines of credit.
“As the state’s ‘bank for business,’ the EDA has a successful history of partnering with financial institutions to leverage its resources and ensure small businesses have access to the capital they need to remain and grow in New Jersey,” said Lt. Governor Guadagno. “By utilizing EDA’s existing partnerships within the lending community, New Jersey will be able to strengthen its current portfolio of assistance and help our small businesses secure the funds they need to expand and create jobs.”