Mayor Ed Lee’s plan to add $1 million into The City’s revolving loan fund for small businesses suffered a setback Wednesday.
The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee unanimously agreed the proposal raised a number of unresolved issues and more time was needed to determine whether it was the best use of taxpayer dollars.
While the committee – which consists of supervisors Carmen Chu, Jane Kim and John Avalos – praised the program, supervisors wondered how loans would be offered to those in “hard-to-reach neighborhoods,” how The City would justify putting the total $1 million in the fund and how the program fits into the larger picture of the numerous other initiatives provided to help small businesses.
The program was launched in 2009 and offers loans of $25,000 for startups and $50,000 to existing businesses, to be repaid over five years. Since launching, 27 businesses have received a total of $665,585 in loans. The fund currently has $258,675 in it. Lee has proposed adding $1 million plus additional funds from Wells Fargo for a total of $1.5 million.
“There is clearly a need to support small businesses in San Francisco, and access to capital can be a struggle in a tough economy,” Lee spokeswoman Christine Falvey said following the postponement.
As for the supervisors’ questions, she said, “We look forward to answering those soon and moving this forward.”