Lawmakers want to change state loan program to help during crisis

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Many businesses are struggling, and some are on the brink of closing because of the economic crisis coronavirus is causing.

Legislators want to change up an underused state loan program. They said 60 million dollars, in a home loan program that’s been around since the recession in 2008, could better serve struggling Kansans today.

“What else can we do, and we suggested, here’s a fund that’s not being used at this point anyway,” said Leonard Wolfe, the president of United Bank & Trust.

Lawmakers moved forward with the new plan that would give business owners, including farmers, a way to get low interest loans during the crisis.

The loans would be offered below market level and could be as long as 10 years. They will have a maximum amount of 250,000 dollars. Banks will be limited on how high they set their interest rate.

Supporters said the change will keep dollars in Kansas banks and credit unions, and it gives businesses access to money that can keep them above water until things start to get better.

“We feel like if we don’t do this, this is going to be income lost to the state anyway, but it in turn helps our customers stay, I mean they’re not going to collect anything if we don’t have any farmers in business, and businesses in business, so it helps us keep them going as they’re continuing to be taxpaying entities in the state,” Wolfe said.

The full legislature will have the opportunity to vote on the issue when they return on Thursday.

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