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Rep. Christopher H. Smith. (Photo: Chris Smith).

Smith introduces bill to clear NJ towns of disaster loan debt

Measure would allow businesses to get additional SBA loans

By Nikita Biryukov, April 06 2020 9:31 am

Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton) reintroduced a bill calling on the federal government to forgive community disaster loans taken out by some towns along the Jersey Shore in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and making more businesses eligible for Small Business Administration loans.

“These two Sandy-era programs should be fixed so that our towns and residents — many now out of work — can focus on the crisis at hand,” Smith said. “As the second highest impact area for coronavirus, we need to meet the demands going forward. Instead of pressuring our towns, the federal government needs to accept responsibility for its past mistakes and work with us to address the future.”

New Jersey is second in the nation for confirmed COVID-19 cases.

So far, 37,505 residents have tested positive in the state.

Only New York has more cases.

Smith previously introduced the same bill in 2016, 2017 and 2019.

“If the money is there, our people who applied for a grant and were initially rejected because of the loan should be first in line,” Smith said. “First and foremost, we must eliminate the bias in federal policy and then work together to provide funds for those who were wrongly denied.”

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