N.J. steps in to help businesses hard hit by Irene

New Jersey is taking action to help businesses recover from the damage caused by Hurricane Irene.

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority is expanding its business assistance program by partnering with more banks. Authority CEO Caren Franzini says a line of credit available to businesses that suffered storm damage is being doubled to a half million dollars.

“If you’re a supermarket you just lost all you food, if you’re a restaurant, if you’re a small business you lost all your computers, you need to get back into business this week,” she said. “We want the funding available to you now while you wait for your insurance or under FEMA payments.”

New Jersey Business and Industry Association president Phil Kirschner said some businesses were already having trouble getting credit because of the weak economy. Expansion of the assistance program will be a lifeline for companies that were hard hit by the storm, he said.

Meanwhile, more than 15,000 New Jersey residents have already filed claims with FEMA seeking help paying for damage from Hurricane Irene. All 21 counties have been declared major disaster areas.

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