SBA disaster bill filed

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., filed legislation this week to expedite small business loans in the aftermath of hurricanes and other disasters.

Landrieu, who chairs the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, teamed up with U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., to file the Small Business Disaster Recovery Act.

Landrieu said the bill is intended to build off of Small Business Association changes previously made in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and again after the BP oil disaster in 2010.

The bill clarifies that business owners will not have to use their primary residences as collateral for SBA disaster business loans less than $200,000. In the past, there were instances of people having to put up a home worth $400,000 or so on a loan of $200,000.

The bill also authorizes the SBA to allow out-of-state small business development centers to provide assistance in presidentially declared disaster areas.

“When a disaster strikes, every day that a small business remains shut down is a day closer to their doors shutting for good,” Landrieu said in the announcement. “This bill will help cut through bureaucracy for business owners seeking smaller amounts of disaster funding, while at the same time allow seasoned business counselors to cross state lines if they are needed after large scale disasters.”