Louisiana Tweaks Flood Aid Program For Small Businesses

BATON ROUGE, La. (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration is boosting the size of loans available to small businesses damaged by last year’s flooding and extending the deadline for applications.

The Restore Louisiana Small Business Program offers interest-free, partially forgivable loans to businesses harmed by the March and August 2016 floods. Twenty percent of the loan is forgiven when the other 80 percent is repaid.

Under the changes announced Wednesday, the loans now range from $10,000 to $150,000. They previously had ranged from $20,000 to $50,000.

Also, the deadline for submitting loan applications through one of the participating banks and lenders has been extended until Oct. 31.

The program uses recovery dollars provided to Louisiana from Congress. The loans can be used to pay rent, utilities, mortgage, employee wages and some non-construction repair expenses.

No word on state flooding programs available for small businesses damaged by Hurricane Harvey this year.

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria have taught small business owners that disaster planning is more than just evacuating and trying to mitigate physical damage — it’s also about the “what ifs.”

Many realized they hadn’t done the right kind of preparation, including buying flood insurance. Some say they want to have their own generators. But even those with carefully made plans ran into situations their plans didn’t account for.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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