Florida Senate - 2018                                     SB 104
       By Senator Garcia
       36-00095-18                                            2018104__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to small business financial
    3         assistance; creating s. 295.231, F.S.; creating the
    4         Veterans Employment Small Business Grant Program
    5         within the Department of Economic Opportunity;
    6         directing Florida Is For Veterans, Inc., to administer
    7         the program; defining terms; authorizing the
    8         corporation to accept and administer moneys
    9         appropriated for such grants; specifying grant
   10         amounts; limiting the amount that a small business may
   11         receive under the program; requiring a small business
   12         to apply to and enter into an agreement with the
   13         corporation to receive grants; prescribing minimum
   14         criteria for such agreements; requiring the
   15         corporation to notify the appropriate regional small
   16         business development center of a small business’
   17         participation; authorizing the department to adopt
   18         rules; prescribing reporting requirements; providing
   19         for termination of the program; providing
   20         appropriations; providing an effective date.
   22  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   24         Section 1. Section 295.231, Florida Statutes, is created to
   25  read:
   26         295.231 Veterans Employment Small Business Grant Program.
   27  The Veterans Employment Small Business Grant Program is created
   28  within the Department of Economic Opportunity to be administered
   29  by Florida Is For Veterans, Inc. The purpose of the program is
   30  to stimulate investment in the state’s economy by providing
   31  grants to small businesses that hire and employ honorably
   32  discharged veterans or disabled veterans with service-connected
   33  disabilities.
   34         (1) As used in this section, the term:
   35         (a) “Corporation” means Florida Is For Veterans, Inc.
   36         (b) “Small business” means an independently owned and
   37  operated, for-profit, privately held business that employs 50 or
   38  fewer persons; generates $1 million or less in annual revenue;
   39  and has maintained its principal place of business in this state
   40  for at least the previous 4 calendar years.
   41         (2) The corporation may accept and administer moneys
   42  appropriated to the department for transfer to the corporation
   43  to provide grants to encourage small businesses in this state to
   44  hire and employ veterans.
   45         (3) A small business that initially hires a veteran on or
   46  after July 1, 2018, as an employee may receive a one-time grant
   47  of:
   48         (a) Fifteen hundred dollars per newly hired veteran, as
   49  defined in s. 1.01(14).
   50         (b) Three thousand dollars for each newly hired disabled
   51  veteran, as that term is described in s. 295.07(1)(a).
   52         (4) The total dollar amount of grants awarded to a
   53  participating small business under subsection (3) may not exceed
   54  $10,500 per fiscal year.
   55         (5) A small business must apply to and enter into an
   56  agreement with the corporation in order to participate in the
   57  program. The agreement must require that the small business:
   58         (a) Employ a qualifying veteran for at least 1 year before
   59  becoming eligible for a grant awarded under subsection (3).
   60         (b) Report information regarding the employment status of
   61  each qualifying veteran, if requested to do so by the
   62  corporation.
   63         (c) Pay each qualifying veteran an amount equal to at least
   64  90 percent of the annual median income for veterans in this
   65  state, based on the most recent federal census or the most
   66  recent American Community Survey 5-year estimates published by
   67  the United States Census Bureau.
   68         (d) Use any awarded grant moneys to facilitate the small
   69  business’ creation of additional jobs for and employment of
   70  veterans; however, grant moneys may be used only for
   71  manufacturing, equipment, and facility expenses or other
   72  operating costs or fixed capital outlay projects.
   73         (e) Receive no additional grant for rehiring a veteran
   74  previously claimed as an employee by the same small business for
   75  purposes of obtaining funds under the program.
   76         (f) Is eligible to receive a grant award only for a veteran
   77  initially hired on or after July 1, 2018.
   78         (6) The corporation shall notify the regional small
   79  business development center that serves the county in which a
   80  participating small business is located of the small business’
   81  participation in the grant program in order to facilitate
   82  improved access to the resources of the Florida Small Business
   83  Development Center Network.
   84         (7) The Department of Economic Opportunity may adopt rules
   85  to implement and administer this section, including, but not
   86  limited to, rules specifying requirements for the application
   87  and approval process and the documentation necessary to claim
   88  grant moneys awarded under this section.
   89         (8) By December 31, 2021, the corporation shall provide a
   90  report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the
   91  Speaker of the House of Representatives on the grant program’s
   92  progress and outcomes for the preceding 3 fiscal years. The
   93  report must include aggregate information on the total number of
   94  veterans and small businesses assisted by the program; an
   95  accounting of how the corporation used the state funds it
   96  received for the grant program; and a description of the nature
   97  of the participation in the program by the Florida Small
   98  Business Development Center Network. The report must also
   99  contain specific information on the number of small businesses
  100  receiving grant funds; the number of veterans employed by each
  101  small business receiving grant funds; the salary paid to each
  102  veteran employed; the length of time the small business employed
  103  each veteran; the grant program’s economic benefit to the state;
  104  and all performance-based metrics and methodologies used to
  105  calculate the grant program’s economic benefit to the state.
  106         (9) The grant program terminates July 1, 2023.
  107         Section 2. Beginning July 1, 2018, and for the 2018-2019
  108  through the 2022-2023 fiscal years, the sum of $500,000 in
  109  nonrecurring funds from the State Economic Enhancement and
  110  Development Trust Fund is appropriated to the Department of
  111  Economic Opportunity for transfer to Florida Is For Veterans,
  112  Inc., to contract with the Department of Economic Opportunity to
  113  implement and administer the Veterans Employment Small Business
  114  Grant Program. The corporation may award grant moneys up to a
  115  maximum of $500,000 per fiscal year. The corporation may spend
  116  up to $25,000 per fiscal year of funds transferred by the
  117  department for staffing and administrative costs associated with
  118  implementation and administration of the program. If any
  119  appropriated funds remain upon termination of the program,
  120  Florida Is For Veterans, Inc., shall transfer those funds to the
  121  Department of Economic Opportunity for deposit in the State
  122  Economic Enhancement and Development Trust Fund.
  123         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.