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LOCAL BUSINESSES MIGHT QUALIFY FOR DISASTER AID

Oct. 3, 2001 – Under legislation introduced in Congress Tuesday, a one-year program of economic relief for small businesses affected by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks would extend to companies outside the geographically designated areas if they can show economic injury as a result of the events. Thus, Delegate Donna Christian Christensen said Wednesday, V.I. businesses, whether tourist-related or not, could be eligible for its benefits.
The Small Business Emergency Relief Act will allow qualifying businesses access to enhanced disaster-loan program assistance available through the U.S. Small Business Administration. The program, comparable to those made available in the territory after federal disasters were declared because of Hurricanes Hugo, Marilyn and Bertha, would provide loans below the current 4 percent interest rate and, in some cases, interest-free loans to businesses.
Also, the act would provide relief for businesses with existing SBA loans that are unable to make payments on schedule as a result of physical or economic injury. The SBA would be authorized to provide a reprieve of up to one year for such payments, and, on a case-by-case basis, the SBA administrator would have the authority to forgive existing loans and to waive the cap for new ones.
Christensen joined her colleagues on the House Committee on Small Business in introducing the measure. "This is just one of the measures being considered by the Congress to bring relief to businesses outside the disaster zone," she said in a release. "Other avenues are being explored that may spell relief for our tourism industry in the Virgin Islands."

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Oct. 3, 2001 - Under legislation introduced in Congress Tuesday, a one-year program of economic relief for small businesses affected by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks would extend to companies outside the geographically designated areas if they can show economic injury as a result of the events. Thus, Delegate Donna Christian Christensen said Wednesday, V.I. businesses, whether tourist-related or not, could be eligible for its benefits.
The Small Business Emergency Relief Act will allow qualifying businesses access to enhanced disaster-loan program assistance available through the U.S. Small Business Administration. The program, comparable to those made available in the territory after federal disasters were declared because of Hurricanes Hugo, Marilyn and Bertha, would provide loans below the current 4 percent interest rate and, in some cases, interest-free loans to businesses.
Also, the act would provide relief for businesses with existing SBA loans that are unable to make payments on schedule as a result of physical or economic injury. The SBA would be authorized to provide a reprieve of up to one year for such payments, and, on a case-by-case basis, the SBA administrator would have the authority to forgive existing loans and to waive the cap for new ones.
Christensen joined her colleagues on the House Committee on Small Business in introducing the measure. "This is just one of the measures being considered by the Congress to bring relief to businesses outside the disaster zone," she said in a release. "Other avenues are being explored that may spell relief for our tourism industry in the Virgin Islands."