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Revised business loan program on its way to governor

In this file photo from last year, Rep. Marian Matthews, D-Albuquerque, answers questions during debate on the House floor. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE — The state House endorsed legislation Thursday to reauthorize and expand a loan program for small businesses struggling amid the pandemic — the final approval necessary to send the bill to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

The measure, Senate Bill 3, would make an extra $460 million available for the loan program, on top of the $40 million already loaned last year.

The maximum loan to a business would be $150,000. Funding for the loans would come from the state’s Severance Tax Permanent Fund.

It won approval in the Senate 35-3 earlier this month and cleared the House on a 51-17 vote Thursday.

“This is an investment in our businesses and the people of New Mexico,” said Rep. Marian Matthews, an Albuquerque Democrat and co-sponsor of the bill.

House Minority Leader James Townsend, R-Artesia, voted against the bill, describing it as an inadequate response to public health regulations that have restricted business activity.

“They never would have needed this if we let them go back to work,” he said.

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