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Chafee to Propose Reform of EDC Loan Program

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

 

Independent gubernatorial candidate Lincoln Chafee today announced a 10-point plan to overhaul the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation’s process for using its loan guarantee fund.

The proposed reform comes after the controversy the EDC has created by extended a $75 million loan guarantee to Curt Schilling’s video game company. Chafee has been an outspoken opponent of the deal and has asked the EDC to reconsider it.

“The $125 million Rhode Island Loan Guaranty Fund is a potentially valuable tool to stimulate job creation, attract new companies to our state, and support new and existing Rhode Island businesses and entrepreneurs,” Chafee said.  “I intend to leverage the Fund’s job creation potential while striving to limit taxpayer risk through diversification.”

His plan included a call for a nationwide competition for business plans from companies interested in moving to Rhode Island, encouraging local start-ups to participate in the fund, and partnering with colleges, universities, and the Chambers of Commerce.

Chafee said some of the money in the fund should be reserved for small businesses and he said loan amounts should be capped at $6.25 million—far less than the $75 million loan guarantee the EDC gave to Schilling’s company. He said he wanted the money in the fund spread out over 50 businesses.

 

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