Nadler: Bush Failed NYC Small Business Owners Affected by Blackout

Nov 20, 2003

Washington, DC -- Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) today blasted the Bush Administration for failing to provide relief to small business owners who suffered severe economic loss during the blackout of 2003. In a letter to members of the New York Congressional Delegation, the Small Business Administration (SBA) stated that the blackout "does not meet the definition of disaster as defined by the Small Business Act" and that "the closure of business for one to three days does not...constitute substantial economic injury."

Nadler, who expressed outrage over the SBA's decision, stated, "It is astonishing that the Bush Administration believes that New York City small business owners, who together lost $750 million because of the blackout, did not face substantial economic injury. Any small business man or woman knows that going without electricity and clean water for only a few days can jeopardize a business, particularly those that rely on perishable goods and clean water. It's a shame that President Bush did not take these small business owners' economic losses to heart."

Following the blackout, Nadler and ten other members of the New York Congressional Delegation sent a formal request to President Bush, urging the SBA to provide relief to the small businesses adversely affected by the disaster. The letter from the Members of Congress stated that the blackout left many small companies without electricity or clean water for several days, therefore impacting their near-term profitability and jeopardized their long-term financial future.

Small businesses are particularly affected when an unforeseen disaster, such as the blackout of 2003, occurs. Because these companies tend to have little cash reserves, limited ability to raise capital, and often can afford only the most basic insurance, the financial demands that come with a disaster are difficult to meet.

"The loss of just three business days can force owners into bankruptcy as they struggle to meet monthly rent, utility and payroll obligations. Denying these hardworking people relief for what can only be characterized as a disaster makes one wonder if the Bush Administration values the many contributions our small businessmen and women bring to our local economy."