RealNews

Funds Left Unclaimed for 9/11 Aid to Small Firms as Deadline Nears

With four months remaining in a 9/11 program intended to pour $155 million into small businesses that move to or stay in Lower Manhattan, a third of the money remains to be awarded or pledged. Critics of the program, which began in March 2002, say that overly tight rules and a failure to recognize customary business practices in the area have kept more of the fund from being used, and have deprived many businesses needing the aid from getting it or from getting a just amount. New York State officials who run the program, and business leaders who praise it, say they are confident that all or virtually all of the fund will be committed by the Dec. 31 deadline. They defend the rules as necessary to ensure that the fund is soundly administered and that it provides maximum benefit to the area, whose economy plunged after the 2001 terrorist attack that destroyed the World Trade Center. Full Story

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