The State Finance Council met this morning and approved $5 million in state aid to help flood-damaged businesses in Southeast Kansas to rebuild and recover. The funds will come from a disaster emergency fund that was established after the Greensburg tornado.
As many businesses in the flood-damaged areas have discovered, the recovery assistance available under current law is very limited. Other than low-interest SBA loans, there is little assistance readily available on the federal side.
That’s why the state decided to step in and target business assistance in this first wave of new help to the affected areas. As business owners make decisions about rebuilding over the next few months, we want to encourage as much as possible that they do in fact reopen and stay in their home communities.
The new business assistance package is modeled on a program the full legislature established to help Greensburg businesses after the tornado. To date, 56 businesses in Greensburg have been approved to help under the program.
The new assistance is in three areas:
Investment assistance: The state will cover up to 10 percent of the cost of replacing capital equipment that was damaged or destroyed by the floods.
Rental assistance: The state will help pay the cost of renting temporary facilities for a business to operate from while their primary business location is restored after flood damage.
Job restoration assistance: The state will pay up to $3,500 for each employee whose job was lost as a result of flooding but whose job is restored as a result of business reinvestment.
The Kansas Department of Revenue will administer the new program. Information about how the program and how to apply for help will be made available in the coming days at www.ksrevenue.org, and interested businesses should keep an eye on the department’s website. In addition, the Department plans to schedule meetings in flood-damaged communities to explain in person to damaged businesses how this new relief will work.
This is the first of several long-term recovery actions that will be put in place. I anticipate the next steps will involve housing assistance, both in the short term and to address the long-term housing shortage in Southeast Kansas.
In addition, Congressman Tiahrt advised me earlier this week that he plans to introduce a disaster-relief bill in Congress that will include several tax-relief measures to help flood-damaged businesses to recover costs of rebuilding. If you are in that situation, you may want to be on contact with Congressman Tiahrt’s office.
I’ll keep you posted on the state’s actions as best I can.
Kansas State Senator
P.O. Box 747
Independence, KS 67301