(TRENTON)–New Jersey Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington) released the following statement Tuesday, expressing shock and disappointment at ongoing delays and red tape in the Economic Development Authority’s (EDA) administration of the Stronger New Jersey Business Grant program:
“It’s extremely disturbing to me to learn that the small businesses devastated by Sandy- businesses that are the backbone of our economy – have encountered severe delays and red tape instead of the simple relief promised them by EDA when it announced this program.
“Out of $100 million of eligible grant money, EDA’s most recent report shows that less than 20 percent has been approved to help small businesses recover from the impacts of Sandy. Out of more than 3,300 applications for this grant money, EDA’s most recent report indicates only 314 grants have been approved.
“These numbers suggest a stunning lack of urgency in helping small business owners get back on their feet after one of the most historically devastating storms our region has ever faced.
“Business owners have now come forward to describe severe red tape they have faced in getting their applications processed by EDA, including serious delays, a lack of transparency and being bounced from case worker to case worker.
“It’s been almost a year since the inception of this program, and fewer than 314 grants have been approved – comprising less than 10 percent of all applicants. This lack of action is completely unacceptable. These small business owners deserve action, not excuses.”