Owners of Sandy-devastated Shore businesses seeking grants, not loans

Small businesses at the Jersey Shore struggling to recover from Hurricane Sandy are hoping they’ll be able to get federal grants, not just loans.

 

The New Jersey Business and Industry Association says some businesses that went into debt to get through the recession can¹t afford to borrow more to rebuild from the storm.

Assemblyman Al Coutinho, chairman of the commerce committee, says some of those businesses may not survive without grants.

“I know a case, it was a $1.2 million hit. They’re considering bankruptcy,” said Coutinho, D-Essex. “They say, ‘Wait a minute, so I lost $1.2 million as a result of the storm. Now I’m going to borrow money so I can work for the next six years to pay back what I lost?'”

While he’d also like those businesses to come back, Assemblyman Troy Singleton is concerned about awarding grants that could end up boosting their profits.

“While we we’d like to see these businesses come back — and they should come back — that money also goes towards helping their bottom line,” said Singleton, D-Burlington. “If you get a homeowner back on his or her feet, then that money is going back in recycling through the community through their tax base.”

About $2 billion of the $60 billion President Barack Obama is requesting from Congress for Sandy recovery in New Jersey and New York could be used for small-business grants.

 

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