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Adams: Direct federal Sandy aid to businesses

Kenneth Adams, head of Empire State Development, said

Kenneth Adams, head of Empire State Development, said he hopes to direct federal aid to businesses hurt by Sandy. Credit: Newsday/Karen Wiles Stabile

New York’s primary economic development agency wants to direct federal aid to help businesses hurt by superstorm Sandy, its chief executive said Thursday.

“We hope that some of the funding will be available for business recovery,” Empire State Development Corp. president and chief executive Kenneth Adams said at a business forum in Hauppauge. “That could be low-cost financing -- low cost loans -- and … business owners want us to consider some kind of grant program because the need is just so great.”

Earlier this month Congress approved a $50.5 billion package to aid states hit by the storm. The funds that Adams hopes will help businesses would come from $16 billion in Community Development Block Grants that would be distributed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Adams said he will have a better idea of what is possible on Friday or next week. The federal funds could come with restrictions but would help make up for shortfalls in existing state programs that offer loans and tax credits.

“There’s some gaps in what we’ve been able to do just because of limited state resources,” Adams said. “We’re looking forward to some allocation of the federal aid that we can turn into relief for businesses affected by Sandy.”

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