FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Phyllis Mundy
State Rep. Mike Carroll
State Rep. Gerald Mullery
State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski
State Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich
Special fund created for flood-impacted small businesses in Luzerne County
HARRISBURG, Nov. 10 – State Reps. Phyllis Mundy, Eddie Day Pashinski, Mike Carroll, Sid Michaels Kavulich and Gerald Mullery announced today that the state’s Commonwealth Financing Authority has approved the creation of a special loan fund to help qualifying Luzerne County small businesses recover from flooding caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee this summer.
The legislators, who each represent a portion of Luzerne County, said the special fund could initially help nearly 200 Luzerne County small businesses recover from flood damage, and eventually many more small businesses once the fund transitions into a revolving loan program for all county small businesses.
The proposal approved today will use $4 million in the local share of slot revenue from the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs to create the Flood Recovery Loan and Small Business Loan program. The legislators said the fund will help regional small businesses access recovery funds more quickly than many of them will be able to do through federal disaster assistance.
“These low-interest loans will help hundreds of businesses in Luzerne County to remain in business and preserve local jobs,” Mundy said. “At no cost to the taxpayers, this fund will provide much-needed and immediate assistance so businesses can rebuild and strengthen our local economy.”
The special fund will make loans available up to $100,000 at a 1 percent interest rate to Luzerne County businesses impacted by the floods.
“Without this type of assistance, many of the affected businesses in our community would not be able to survive the coming months.” Pashinski said. “I encourage the governor to use a reasonable portion of the state’s $550 million budget surplus to offer the same deal to all people affected by the disaster.”
Plymouth Township submitted the application to use $4 million of the $12 million in local slot revenue to create the program. The township will grant the funds to MetroAction Inc. of Scranton, which will serve as the fiscal agent for the loan program to help businesses countywide.
“I’m extremely pleased the CFA approved the creation of a small business loan program that directs locally generated funds to area employers who are struggling to recover from the devastating effect of the September flooding," Carroll said. “These small businesses are the heart and soul of our community and their continued presence is vital to our area’s recovery.”
The Greater Wilkes-Barre Industrial Fund, Greater Hazleton Can Do, Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce and South Valley Chamber of Commerce will oversee the loan program.
“The devastating flood has been another burden placed on our local economy that is already trying to recover from the economic downtown," Kavulich said. “By tapping a portion of the local revenue generated from the Mohegan Sun, we can prevent more workers and families from going into the winter without a job.”
“I am happy that relief will be available to many of the flood-damaged small businesses in our community,” Mullery said. “As those businesses try to recover, it is important to get them assistance more quickly and this fund will do that.”
After one year, the flood-recovery loan fund will transition into a continuing low-interest revolving loan fund to help all small businesses in the county leverage other sources of financing to grow and create jobs.