Governor signs bill to use government funds for small business loans
Up to $ 60 million from the state coffers will be turned into small business loans under the laws signed by Governor Laura Kelly on Thursday.
The bipartisan push to create the Economic Recovery Loan Deposit Program would make the untapped funds available to financial institutions, which in turn would offer below-market interest rates to businesses, farmers, and ranchers in need of the funds. The bank or credit union, not the state, would bear the risk in the transaction.
The bill was passed by an overwhelming majority in both houses of the legislature.
However, Kelly vetoed a similar proposal at the last meeting on the grounds that the program should not be run by the state treasurer and concerns about its structure.
She said Thursday that many of these issues were addressed in the latest version of the bill. That includes their primary concern that the funds go only to the Kansas business owners and be spent in the state.
“This is what good government looks like – working together to compromise, to promote good things,” said Kelly.
State Treasurer Lynn Rogers said his staff are in the process of making sure they are ready to make loans when the program goes into effect in July.
The legislation was phrased as a win for rural Kansas, with Kelly referring to language that also incentivized housing development outside of the state’s urban areas.
However, Doug Wareham, president of the Kansas Bankers Association, said the bill would also help keep banks and financial institutions healthy.
“This will be an additional tool for financial institutions to help small businesses that have been hit by a historically difficult year,” said Wareham.