GOVERNOR BARBOUR SIGNS SMALL BUSINESS
(Jackson, Miss.)– Governor Haley Barbour today signed House Bill 41 which will allow Mississippi small businesses most impacted by Hurricane Katrina to access $25 million in zero-interest short-term loans. The Mississippi Development Authority has asked the State Bond Commission for $25 million in order to initiate the program.
“I am grateful to the Legislature for passing this important legislation to help our small businesses get back on their feet,” Governor Barbour said. “Many have been obliterated or severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina, and this legislation is vital to helping them survive and continue operations.”
“We expect to have the Disaster Bridge Loan Program up and running within days,” announced Leland Speed, MDA Executive Director.
Howard McMillan, former president of Deposit Guaranty National Bank, was appointed by the Governor to direct the disaster loan program and will work at no charge to the state. “We are grateful that the Governor and Legislature approved this important loan program to help damaged Mississippi small businesses bridge the gap until they receive insurance settlements, SBA disaster loans or other financing,” McMillan said. “We would like to thank the many banks, savings and loans, and credit unions that will make this program successful,” McMillan added.
The loan program will first open in 11 emergency declaration counties: Covington, Forrest, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lamar, Marion, Pearl River and Stone. Governor Barbour has asked the federal government to match the State’s $25 million investment in the loan fund. As additional funds become available and updated damage assessments warrant, loans may be made available in additional
Disaster Bridge Loans will be made to individuals who are at least 51% owners of the business and are Mississippi residents. Mississippi controlled non-profit corporations may also apply. Only one loan will be allowed per individual and/or business. Loan terms can be either 90 or 180 days at an interest rate of zero.
In addition to signing the disaster bridge loan legislation, Governor Barbour also signed House Bill 43, which authorizes the bond commission to obtain a $500 million line of credit and suspend provisions requiring cuts to agency budgets during FY 06; and House Bill 20, which waives out-of-state tuition for non-resident evacuees of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139 Jackson, MS 39205
Phone: 601.359.3150 Fax: 601.359.3741