HARTFORD — More funding is on the way for a successful state program with bipartisan backing that helps small businesses expand, state Rep. Lezlye Zupkus said today.
Zupkus, a member of the legislature’s Commerce Committee, was among the lawmakers who voted unanimously to transfer $60 million into the Small Business Express Program (SBE).
The program, created a little more than a year ago, provides loans and grants to small businesses to spur job creation and business growth. The money can be used for things such as equipment upgrades, construction, or new hires. Businesses with fewer than 100 employees qualify.
“For too long Connecticut’s legislature has stood in the way of small business growth, imposing regulation after regulation and fee after fee,” Zupkus said. “This fresh move to again supply businesses with the this kind of assistance sends the long-overdue message that the legislature is, in fact, coming around—that people here are beginning to recognize that small employers are the backbone of our communities and our state’s economy.”
Money authorized under S.B. 801 doesn’t reflect new state spending, but rather money previously set aside for a program with a more narrow focus.
The infusion of money into the Small Business Express program comes at a critical time. The program account had run dry. More than 600 businesses received assistance since the legislature created SBE in October 2011. More than 2,000 new jobs have been created, and more than 5,500 jobs have been retained. SBE also spurred more than $46 million in private investments.
“We have a long way to go to turn around Connecticut’s reputation as a state that’s unfriendly to businesses, but this legislation certainly represents a step in the right direction,” Zupkus said.
State Rep. Lezlye Zupkus represents the 89th General Assembly District covering Prospect, Bethany and parts of Cheshire.