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. 21 22 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 23 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.