Schroder, business leaders urge Gov. Edwards to sign small business relief into law

BATON ROUGE, LA – State Treasurer John Schroder and state business leaders gathered today to urge Gov. John Bel Edwards to free up $300 million for small businesses across Louisiana by signing Senate Bill 189 into law.

Senate Bill 189 would create a business grant program with a portion of the federal coronavirus relief package. Of the $300 million in grants, $40 million would go to businesses owned by minorities, women and veterans. The Louisiana Department of Treasury would administer the program.

“Small businesses are an economic engine, and they’re running out of gas. They support nearly a million jobs in Louisiana. If we allow those jobs to disappear, our economy will collapse. It’s as simple as that,” said Treasurer Schroder. “I come from a small business background. I know exactly what these small businesses are experiencing. They are dying on the vine. Only a fraction of businesses in Louisiana received Paycheck Protection Program loans. That’s why the Legislature created this grant program. We’re working hard on building the program, and we look forward to working with the administration to deliver this financial relief to small businesses.”

“Now, more than ever, Louisiana’s small businesses are looking to the State Capitol for both leadership and assistance as they work to recover from this unprecedented economic crisis. SB189 is bipartisan, common sense legislation that provides direct relief to small business owners and their employees,” said Stephen Waguespack, president and CEO of LABI. “From day one of the government’s response to COVID-19, Louisiana small businesses have made tremendous sacrifices to help keep our communities safe. These same communities now need small businesses to come back stronger than before. If we are to truly work together to rebuild our shattered economy, it will take bold and innovative policies like this to save small business, rebuild our tax base and get Louisianans working again.”

“We applaud Treasurer Schroder for his proactive approach to planning the launch of this program and his deep understanding of small businesses. Our members are urging Gov. Edwards to sign the bill creating the Main Street Recovery Fund so the Treasurer can get these funds out to business owners,” said Dawn Starns, state director for NFIB. “With over 400,000 small businesses employing 52% of the private workforce, it is clear small business is the heart and soul of Louisiana’s economy. These grants will make a big difference in whether local shops and restaurants can survive the frustratingly slow reopening process. Unless the governor signs SB 189, some small businesses could end up closing for good.”