A new loan program aims to help businesses owned by minorities and women participate in state construction projects. The Disadvantaged Business Revolving Loan Program will allow the Illinois Department of Transportation to make low-interest loans to certified businesses owned by minorities and women that have construction contracts with the agency.
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State Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago), one of the bill’s sponsors, says this will allow these smaller firms to obtain the necessary lines of credit to participate in state construction projects. “We’re leveling the playing field here,” Hunter said.
The state will invest $3 million to start the program. The governor’s office claims the program will eventually be self-sustaining, with payments on existing loans allowing new loans to be made.
The House sponsor for the bill, State Rep. Will Davis (D-Homewood), says that $3 million investment is one worth making despite state’s financial woes. “People often comment on how broke, if you can say that way, the state of Illinois is,” Davis said. “If we’re going to spend money, there’s no reason that businesses at all facets, at all levels, at every opportunity, should not be able to take advantage of the dollars that we are spending.”
The governor has signed the new law and it takes effect immediately.