Connecticut Seal

Senate Bill No. 452

Public Act No. 03-93

AN ACT CONCERNING FUNDING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO LOW AND MODERATE INCOME INDIVIDUALS TO ESTABLISH BUSINESSES IN THE STATE.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsection (a) of section 8-240k of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(a) As used in this section and section 8-240l, as amended by this act, "low and moderate income individuals" means individuals earning not more than the state median income, as determined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. The state, acting by and through the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, in conjunction with other relevant state agencies and quasi-public agencies, as defined in section 1-20, shall establish a community economic development program in public investment communities, as defined in section 7-545, [and] in targeted investment communities, as defined in section 32-222, and state-wide to assist low and moderate income individuals in establishing, maintaining and expanding businesses. The purpose of the program shall be to strengthen neighborhoods by maintaining or creating employment for neighborhood residents, generating tax revenues and stemming physical deterioration and the social problems resulting from deterioration by providing (1) access to credit, (2) facilitation of financing for community development activities, and (3) technical assistance.

Sec. 2. Section 8-240l of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(a) The entity created pursuant to subsection (b) of section 8-240k shall be governed by a state-wide board of directors appointed as follows: Five members shall be representatives of relevant state agencies and quasi-public agencies, appointed by the Governor; one member shall be appointed by each investor who has committed an amount of money to the program established by subsection (a) of section 8-240k, as amended by this act; and six members shall be persons of low or moderate income residing in public investment communities or targeted investment communities or representatives of nonprofit organizations the primary purpose of which is to serve low and moderate income, unemployed or underemployed residents of targeted neighborhoods, except that such members shall comprise not less than one third of the membership, one appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives, one by the president pro tempore of the Senate, one by the majority leader of the House of Representatives, one by the majority leader of the Senate, one by the minority leader of the House of Representatives and one by the minority leader of the Senate. The board shall appoint the additional members.

(b) The entity may: (1) Employ a staff and fix their duties, qualifications and compensation; (2) solicit, receive and accept aid or contributions including money, property, labor and other things of value from any source; (3) establish uniform underwriting standards and approval mechanisms for financing projects; (4) retain outside consultants and technical experts; and (5) do all acts and things necessary and convenient to carry out the purposes of sections 8-240k to 8-240n, inclusive.

(c) The purposes of the entity are to: (1) Coordinate, fund and implement investment and community development in targeted neighborhoods, including small for-profit enterprises, nonprofit organizations, and related residential properties; (2) provide funding to low and moderate income individuals to establish, maintain and expand businesses in the state; (3) provide access for borrowers to existing public and private lending and development programs and other funding sources, including, but not limited to, equity investment, loan guarantees and mortgage insurance; [(3)] (4) provide technical assistance; and [(4)] (5) preserve public dollars by leveraging private capital for community investment.

(d) The goals of the entity shall be to promote the following in public investment communities, [or] in targeted investment communities, and state-wide in areas in which low and moderate income individuals establish, maintain and expand businesses: (1) Job creation and skill development for the unemployed and underemployed and persons receiving public assistance; (2) leveraging of private and community investment; (3) community participation in decision-making; (4) the establishment of self-sustaining enterprises; (5) improvement of the physical environment of the community and the state; (6) promotion of affirmative action and equal employment opportunities and minority-owned businesses; and (7) coordination with the state plan of conservation and development adopted under chapter 297 and local, regional and state strategic economic development plans.

(e) The entity may establish one or more local or state-wide affiliates to participate in implementation of the program established under subsection (a) of section 8-240k, as amended by this act. Each affiliate shall be governed by a board of directors appointed by the entity. The board of the affiliate shall reflect the categories of membership as the membership of the board of directors of the entity.

(f) Financial assistance shall be provided, in coordination with other sources of public or private funds, by the entity on a competitive basis, if feasible, to individuals, organizations, businesses, community development corporations, regional economic development corporations and any affiliate established under subsection (c) of this section. Not less than seventy per cent of the financial assistance available under sections 8-240k to 8-240n, inclusive, shall be used for activities in targeted investment communities. The purposes for which such assistance may be used include, but are not limited to, direct small business and community revitalization loans, technical capacity training, loans to peer lending or borrowing groups, creation of business incubators, and development of commercial real estate for businesses owned [, operated] or operated by or employing residents of public investment communities or targeted investment communities, or owned by low or moderate income individuals who are residents of the state. As used in this section, "financial assistance" means any and all forms of loans, extensions of credit, guarantees, equity investments or any other form of financing or refinancing to applicants for activities consistent with the purposes of sections 8-240k to 8-240n, inclusive.

(g) The entity shall provide not less than one million dollars for technical assistance from the funds authorized for the program for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1994. The entity shall establish a system for assuring that funds are available for technical assistance on a permanent basis.

Approved June 3, 2003