Harris County Launches $ 10 Million Small Business Loan Program
Led by Ward 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia, the program aims to help businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic by offering zero-rated forgivable loans of up to $ 25,000 to meet ordinary operating expenses and obligations and necessary.
“Obviously we can’t bail out the economy of our entire county, we can’t. We’re not prepared for it,” County Judge Lina Hidalgo said at the meeting. “This is why the federal government is trying, and as we all assess their package and read the analysis, we know it will be difficult depending on the depth of this crisis for any level of government to fully bail out. the economy. This is why it is so important that people stay at home so that we can get over this quickly and get the economy going again. “
District 3 and 4 commissioners Steve Radack and Jack Cagle have called for the vote to be deferred on the article until the next court meeting, citing concerns about some of the unknowns still surrounding the program.
“I understand the need for speed, but if we’re talking about a program that has a forgiveness component, which ultimately makes it a grant, isn’t that something we could bring back in a week so we can have public input on this component? ” Cagle asked. “I am in favor of granting loans to our companies. I support the H-GAC component, but I have serious concerns about this aspect.”
WATCH: Commissioner Garcia explains how small business owners can apply for a loan
However, the motion failed and the program was approved by a 3-2 split vote, with Radack and Cagle dissenting.
“We still don’t know if we’ll be reimbursed by the federal government; I hope we find ways to do it,” Garcia said. “But at the end of the day, you keep people employed; you keep their doors open; you allow them to continue paying their rent – these are all things that come back to our bottom line. “
According to Garcia, the $ 10 million in loans will be split evenly among the four constituencies in the county, and eligible businesses will be able to apply to the program through the H-GAC website. The county will also explore the possibility of incorporating items such as low to moderate income and equity as part of business eligibility.
“It’s local taxpayers’ money,” Radack said before voting against the article. “We have no right to just give it away, especially without clear details and directions. As far as I’m concerned, this action discriminates against hundreds of thousands of taxpayers and citizens of Harris County.”
Here are the eligibility conditions:
- Must be a business located in Harris County
- The company must have been in operation by January 1, 2019 at the latest
- Property taxes must be in good standing according to the Harris County Tax Office
- Must provide proof of how the company’s revenue has been and / or will be adversely affected due to government restrictions or other challenges due to COVID-19
- A business is eligible if it has a tangible net worth of no more than $ 15 million and an average net income of $ 5 million or less after federal income tax for the two years preceding the application
To learn more about community impact, visit their website.