A concurrent resolution sponsored by Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and John Catalano (all R-10) urging the President and Congress to enact legislation forgiving certain community disaster loans issued after Superstorm Sandy has passed the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee. SCR-111 echoes Congressman Chris Smith’s federal legislation, H.R. 6454, a bill that would mandate the forgiveness of certain community disaster loans secured by New Jersey municipalities from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help with Superstorm Sandy recovery.
A resolution sponsored by Senator Holzapfel and Assemblymen McGuckin and Catalano, advanced by committee today, would urge the federal government to forgive some community disaster loans issued after Superstorm Sandy. (WikiMedia Commons)
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the lawmakers agree with Congressman Smith’s effort to help the State’s residents and businesses during the pandemic. This federal resolution would have a profound impact throughout New Jersey in helping stabilize the economy, and would provide much needed support to the citizens of the State in the fight against COVID-19.
“We are pleased to see this bill pass through committee bringing it one step closer to helping our residents during this difficult financial time,” stated Senator Holzapfel. “In 2012, our district was one of the hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy. While I have no doubt we will recover from this pandemic and come back stronger than before, we must provide some relief to our residents at this time.”
Recently, FEMA has begun to press New Jersey municipalities to start repaying the loans given out to residents and businesses to help the State’s post-Superstorm Sandy recovery.
This mandatory repayment would have a devastating effect throughout the State, as these demands come at a time when New Jersey is struggling to fight COVID-19, the legislators said. The payments on the community disaster loans were originally allowed to be paid back slowly over time, with the possibility of forgiveness.
“It’s been almost eight years since Superstorm Sandy and our residents are still feeling the financial impact of that natural disaster,” added Assemblyman McGuckin. “Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of our residents are out of work and many small businesses are either partially or completely shut down. Repaying this debt to FEMA is nearly impossible at a time like this. Our legislation urges Congress and the President to forgive these loans and begin to get our state’s economy back on track.”
Currently, New Jersey residents who were granted loans under the “Small Business Act” now face the possibility they may be prohibited from receiving further disaster relief aid during the COVID-19 pandemic since any new grant issued may be counted as a duplicate benefit. The bill also addresses the lingering duplication of benefit problem by removing the receipt of small business loans as a disqualifier for people who sought or received federal money to help them recover in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
“We agree with Congressman Smith’s proposal to forgive loans and ensure that small businesses in our state can apply for federal relief without the fear of being excluded,” concluded Assemblyman Catalano. “These are unprecedented times and we feel federal loans issued after Superstorm Sandy can and should be forgiven. In order to get our economy running again, it starts with small businesses and their employees who deserve better.”
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