Small businesses in New Mexico grappling with the economic fallout from COVID-19 would be eligible for low-interest loans they wouldn’t commence repaying for a few years under a bill a key Senate committee unanimously endorsed Thursday.
Last year’s legislation made $400 million available for loans for small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in shutdowns mandated by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
Though committee members questioned whether the loan terms should be shorter than 30 years and whether borrowers should start making payments sooner than three years, ideas Candelaria was receptive to, they said the revamped loan program would provide needed relief to New Mexico businesses.
Wirth defended the governor, saying she wasn’t to blame for the pandemic.
Jason Espinoza, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said a $100 million direct grant program created by lawmakers during the special session in November was a “welcome relief” for business owners.