WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in introducing the Providing Resources for Emergency Preparedness and Resilient Enterprises (PREPARE) Act, which would help small businesses mitigate property damage from future disasters.
“No one knows better than a Louisianian how to prepare for natural disasters, and this bill will make it easier for our small businesses to prevent loss. Too often, hardworking Americans are forced to weather storms first and federal bureaucracy second. I’m thankful to work with Sen. Rubio and colleagues to pass the PREPARE Act before another historic hurricane batters our state,” said Kennedy.
“Small businesses in America should be able to prepare for unplanned disasters. The PREPARE Act would allow small businesses the opportunity to invest in mitigation before a disaster strikes, saving businesses and taxpayers money, as well as reducing potential property damage,” said Rubio.
According to Federal Emergency Management Agency statistics, approximately 50 percent of small businesses close indefinitely following a disaster, and every $1 spent on mitigation saves taxpayers $6.
The PREPARE Act would:
- Create an updated Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program for small businesses to proactively take out a low-interest loan (up to $500,000) to implement mitigation measures to protect their property from future disaster-related damage,
- Authorize $25 million annually (FY2021 to FY2025),
- Task the Small Business Administration (SBA) with establishing and carrying out an advertising and outreach program related to pre-disaster mitigation,
- Task SBA with issuing guidance to ensure borrowers purchase and maintain insurance coverage over the duration of the loan,
- Require SBA to conduct initial reporting and a program evaluation annually thereafter, and
- Increase, from 20 to 30 percent, the limit on existing SBA Physical Business Disaster Loans a borrower may use towards post-disaster mitigation.