New legislation recently passed is expected to assist small businesses impacted by one of the most disastrous storms of the previous decade. But that help comes 10 years after its initial impact was felt.
Even today, everyone remembers Hurricane Katrina.
Reaching landfall on the coast of Louisiana in August 2005, Katrina wreaked havoc on New Orleans. In the wake of this disaster, 1245 people were killed and property damage was estimated at $108 billion dollars. Small businesses were hit hard and emergency relief was lack luster at best.
To address this problem, the House and Senate have passed a disaster relief bill, Recovery Improvements for Small Entities After Disaster Act of 2015 (or RISE After Disaster Act), via H.R. 208.
The bill’s sponsor, Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, says, “Those of us in Louisiana know too well the challenges of recovering and rebuilding after devastating natural disasters, which is why we also understand that sometimes we just need a little extra help. Having passed it through the Senate earlier this year, I am glad to see my broadly bipartisan legislation pass through the House and head to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
“Small business owners will soon have access to the proper tools and resources they need to get back on their feet again in the wake of catastrophe.”
The RISE After Disaster Act is supposed to be a small business disaster law that address several needs of small businesses in the wake of disaster. Among other things, it will:
- Provide recovery loans after the Small Business Administration aid has been exhausted.
- Encourage Federal agencies to use contractors local to the area instead of Washington, D.C. contractors.
- Deal with contractor malfeasance by allowing businesses to increase the size of their SBA disaster loans to remediate their properties where necessary.
- Provide technical support and counseling to help small businesses to recover and resume normal operations.
As chairman of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, Vitter continues the fight for improved disaster relief for small businesses.
Image: Sen. David Vitter/YouTube