Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Protect Small Businesses From Natural Disasters
Wednesday, July 8, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. — July 8, 2020 — U.S. Reps. Joe Morelle (D-NY-25), Jack Bergman (R-MI-01), Jared Golden (D-ME-02), and Pete Stauber (R-MN-08) today introduced the Providing Resources for Emergency Preparedness and Resilient Enterprises (PREPARE) Act, landmark bipartisan legislation that would give small businesses the opportunity to access much needed capital to invest in disaster resilient infrastructure — a top priority for the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas. This bill would allow the Small Business Administration to make low-interest, fixed rate loans of up to $500,000 to small businesses to invest in their properties to protect their facilities, real estate and contents from natural disasters.
“There is no question that natural disasters across the nation are becoming more common and severe, devastating communities and small businesses as a result,” said Marine Retailers Association of the Americas government relations manager Adam Fortier-Brown. “As small businesses drive our nation’s economic recovery, they must be equipped to protect themselves now and in the future from the existential threat that disasters pose. The PREPARE Act will give small businesses an important tool to invest in modern resilient infrastructure to protect their organization, and continue to fuel job growth and prosperity in communities across the nation. We hope this sees swift consideration by the House, and are thankful for the leadership of Representatives Joe Morelle, Jack Bergman, Jared Golden, and Pete Stauber on this critical issue.”
This will preserve small business job gains in communities that depend on them and prevent against the existential threat of permanent business closure. According to FEMA, roughly 40-60 percent of small businesses never reopen following a disaster.
“Our community knows all too well how devastating flooding can be to local businesses — many of which are already struggling with the severe financial impacts of COVID-19,” said Congressman Joe Morelle. “It’s more important now than ever that we take preventative action to prepare for future flooding and protect our small businesses from additional economic hardship. Strong mitigation efforts are the key to our resiliency, and that’s why I’m so proud to introduce this much-needed legislation to help strengthen coastal communities.”
“The First District of Michigan has more shoreline than any Congressional District in the nation. Many businesses face the threat of devastating floods and increased uncertainty as water levels across the Great Lakes region continue rising and natural disasters strike,” said Rep. Jack Bergman. “The PREPARE Act is a step forward in helping businesses across the nation create mitigation plans to ensure their viability and resiliency for the future.”
“Small businesses located on Maine’s coastline and riversides frequently deal with flooding, which can threaten good jobs and now our economic recovery due to business delays and property damage,” said Congressman Jared Golden. “The best way to protect small businesses and workers from natural disasters like floods is to be well- prepared. I am glad to be joining this bipartisan bill to help small businesses access the capital they need to plan for and mitigate flooding risks and other disasters.”
“As a small business owner, I understand that businesses often face obstacles that are outside of their control,” said Congressman Peter Stauber. “While small businesses work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that we take preemptive steps to protect our small businesses from additional hurdles that may cause further economic harm. Therefore, I am proud to back bipartisan legislation that will help small businesses strengthen their infrastructure, helping to prepare for the possibility of future flooding.”
“Small, family owned recreational boating businesses are among the most susceptible to the devastation of erosion, rising water levels and many additional effects of climate change,” said National Marine Manufacturers Association’s director of government relations, Callie Hoyt. “Authorizing this Small Business Administration’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation Loan program would make these businesses and communities better prepared to weather the increasing number of natural disasters and we applaud Representatives Joe Morelle (D-NY-25), Jack Bergman (R-MI-01), Jared Golden (D-ME-02) and Pete Stauber (R-MN-08) for their leadership on this critical issue.”
“This bill has wide-reaching benefits to the marina and boatyard industry,” said Association of Marina Industries legislative outreach coordinator Eric Kretsch. “Small businesses constitute a large portion of our industry, and by nature, we’re located in vulnerable areas. This program will provide another mechanism to upgrade infrastructure and increase the resilience of our industry to natural disasters.”
This program would be the only SBA program focused solely on small business disaster prevention, and would complement rebuilding efforts through the government agency’s disaster loan programs. Research shows that every $1 the government spends on disaster mitigation, such as improving existing infrastructure or elevating homes and businesses, saves taxpayers an average of $6.
A study by the MRAA and AMI found that marine business need significant funding to protect from flooding, requiring an average of $260,000 to invest in projects like elevating buildings, bulkheads, constructing flood barriers or levees, dry and wet floodproofing, yard regrading, and sewer back up protections. This is an issue that transcends industries where all small businesses across the country face similar needs to mitigate damages caused by an increase in frequency and severity of natural disasters, costing the U.S. over $800 Billion in the last decade.
About the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas
At the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, we believe that for the marine industry to thrive, the retail organizations that interact with the boaters in their community must thrive. With that in mind, MRAA works to create a strong and healthy boating industry by uniting those retailers, providing them with opportunities for improvement and growth, and representing them with a powerful voice. For more information, visit MRAA.com or contact us at 763-315-8043.