SEA BRIGHT — Taking a swipe at the federal Small Business Administration, Gov. Chris Christie today called the agency a “disaster” for its post-Hurricane Sandy response and touted two programs he said business owners have been slow to tap into for help.
Christie said chief among the complaints often heard from residents and business owners was the SBA’s complicated rules and application process. As that loan program ended, the state started its own with federal Sandy aid, much of which is still unused, Christie said today before touring businesses in Sea Bright.
“Basically, the Small Business Administration is a disaster,” he said to an appreciative crowd. “We should send FEMA to the Small Business Administration to clean up after the disaster that is the Small Business Administration and what they did to small business people in this state.”
“The good news is the Small Business Administration has left New Jersey and we are stationing troopers on every border to make sure they do not come back,” he added.
In his second day of a pre-Labor Day tour of the Shore, Christie also criticized the National Flood Insurance Program as being unresponsive to the needs of residents
“It is the single biggest obstacle still – and frustration – for any folks in dealing with their own private personal losses in their homes,” he said.
He said NFIP representatives have refused to join the state’s mediation program that settles insurance disputes from Sandy but his administration is going to continue to pressure the federal government to be a part of the talks.
The two underused programs are the Stronger New Jersey Business Grant program, which offers grants of up to $ 50,000 for Sandy-damaged businesses, and the Stronger New Jersey Business Loan program, which provides loans of up to $ 5 million.
Of the $ 260 million in federal aid allocated for the grant program, only $ 2.6 million has been given out, Christie said.
Another $ 100 million has been set aside for the loan program but only 200 applications have been submitted so far, he said. Loan recipients do not have to pay any principle or interest for the first two years, according to the program.
Those looking to apply for the program may call 1-800-55-SANDYBZ.