JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – On Friday, Gov. Jay Nixon submitted a formal request for an economic injury disaster declaration to the U.S. Small Business Administration to make low-interest loans available to businesses that have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of the event in Ferguson, Missouri. The SBA is reviewing the request now and will make a decision soon.
“We have received the request from the Governor and we have forwarded his request to our headquarters,” said Rick Jenkins, Communications Supervisor at the SBA Field Operations Center – West. “They are looking at it now and we expect a decision very, very quickly.”
The U.S. SBA said that it generally takes 2-3 days to process a request. SBA received the request Friday afternoon.
“Should we issue a disaster declaration, that would make our economic injury disaster loans available to small businesses that were financially impacted by disaster,” Jenkins said. “What it does is provide working capital to those small businesses to help them pay obligations that they would have paid had disaster not occurred – in this case, civil unrest.”
Past disaster declarations from the SBA include flooding and storms in Utah in early August; late July tornadoes in Massachusetts; and tornadoes, high winds, and flooding in Nebraska in June. There has not been a declaration due to civil unrest in the last year.
“Businesses impacted by recent events in the Ferguson area are in need of assistance to help them recover,” Gov. Nixon said. “That’s why I am requesting that the SBA make available low-interest loans to businesses and non-profit organizations that have been affected. This is part of our ongoing and long-term commitment to help Ferguson and surrounding communities move forward.”
Economic injury disaster loans provide necessary working capital until normal business operations resume. Loans are available to small businesses and certain private, non-profit organizations of all sizes to meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the event. The loans cannot be used to compensate damages to property that a business’ insurance may not cover.
The Governor requested St. Louis County be designated as a primary county for the declaration, and that St. Charles, Franklin, Jefferson counties and the independent City of St. Louis also be designated as contiguous counties for the SBA declaration.
Rachael Herndon was the editor at The Missouri Times and also produced This Week in Missouri Politics, published Missouri Times Magazine, and co-hosted the #MoLeg podcast. She joined The Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer.
Rachael studied at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children.