Florida Senate - 2016                                     SB 404
       By Senator Garcia
       38-00326-16                                            2016404__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to small business financial
    3         assistance; creating s. 295.24, F.S.; creating the
    4         Veterans Employment Small Business Grant Program
    5         within the Department of Veterans’ Affairs; directing
    6         Florida Is For Veterans, Inc., to administer the
    7         program; defining terms; authorizing the corporation
    8         to accept and administer moneys appropriated for such
    9         grants; specifying grant amounts; limiting the amount
   10         that a small business may receive under the program;
   11         requiring a small business to apply to and enter into
   12         an agreement with the corporation to receive grants;
   13         prescribing minimum criteria for such agreements;
   14         requiring the corporation to notify the appropriate
   15         regional small business development center of a small
   16         business’ participation; providing for termination of
   17         the program; authorizing the department to adopt
   18         rules; providing an appropriation; providing effective
   19         dates.
   21  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   23         Section 1. Section 295.24, Florida Statutes, is created to
   24  read:
   25         295.24 Veterans Employment Small Business Grant Program.
   26  The Veterans Employment Small Business Grant Program is created
   27  within the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to be administered by
   28  Florida Is For Veterans, Inc. The purpose of the program is to
   29  stimulate investment in the state’s economy by providing grants
   30  to small businesses that hire and employ honorably discharged
   31  veterans or disabled veterans with service-connected
   32  disabilities.
   33         (1) As used in this section, the term:
   34         (a) “Corporation” means Florida Is For Veterans, Inc.
   35         (b) “Small business” means an independently owned and
   36  operated, for-profit, and privately held business that employs
   37  200 or fewer persons; generates $2 million or less in annual
   38  revenue; and has maintained its principal place of business in
   39  this state for at least the previous 4 calendar years.
   40         (2) The corporation may accept and administer moneys
   41  appropriated to the department, for transfer to the corporation,
   42  for providing grants to encourage small businesses in this state
   43  to hire and employ veterans.
   44         (3) A small business that hires a veteran as an employee
   45  may receive a one-time grant of:
   46         (a) Three thousand dollars for each veteran, as defined in
   47  s. 1.01(14).
   48         (b) Five thousand dollars for each disabled veteran, as
   49  described in s. 295.07(1)(a)1.
   50         (4) The grants awarded to a participating small business
   51  under subsection (3) may not exceed $25,000 per fiscal year.
   52         (5) A small business must apply to and enter into an
   53  agreement with the corporation in order to participate in the
   54  program. The agreement must require that the small business:
   55         (a) Employ a qualifying veteran for at least 1 year in
   56  order to become eligible for grants awarded under subsection
   57  (3).
   58         (b) Upon the request of the corporation, report information
   59  regarding the employment status of each qualifying veteran.
   60         (c) Pay each qualifying veteran an amount equal to at least
   61  80 percent of the annual median income for veterans in this
   62  state, based on the most recent federal census or the most
   63  recent American Community Survey 5-year estimates published by
   64  the United States Census Bureau.
   65         (d) Invest any awarded grant moneys in the small business
   66  to facilitate further job creation and employment of veterans.
   67  Expenditures allowed under this subsection are limited to
   68  manufacturing, equipment, and facilities expenses or other
   69  operating costs or fixed capital outlay projects.
   70         (e) Not receive an additional grant for rehiring a veteran
   71  previously claimed as an employee by the same small business for
   72  purposes of obtaining funds under the program.
   73         (f) Is eligible to receive a grant award only for a veteran
   74  initially hired on or after October 1, 2016.
   75         (6) The corporation shall notify the regional small
   76  business development center serving the county in which a
   77  participating small business is located of the small business’
   78  participation in the grant program in order to facilitate
   79  improved access to the resources of the Florida Small Business
   80  Development Center Network.
   81         (7) The grant program terminates on the date that all funds
   82  appropriated for the program are expended or on October 1, 2026,
   83  whichever occurs first.
   84         (8) The Department of Veterans’ Affairs may adopt rules to
   85  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         Section 2. Effective July 1, 2016, for the 2016-2017 fiscal
   90  year, the sum of $10 million in nonrecurring funds from the
   91  General Revenue Fund is appropriated to the Department of
   92  Veterans’ Affairs for transfer to Florida Is For Veterans, Inc.,
   93  to implement and administer the Veterans Employment Small
   94  Business Grant Program. The corporation may award grant moneys
   95  up to a maximum of $900,000 per fiscal year. The corporation may
   96  spend up to $100,000 per fiscal year of funds transferred by the
   97  department for staffing and administrative costs associated with
   98  implementation and administration of the program. If any
   99  appropriated funds remain upon termination of the program,
  100  Florida Is For Veterans, Inc., shall transfer those funds to the
  101  Department of Veterans’ Affairs to revert to the General Revenue
  102  Fund.
  103         Section 3. Except as otherwise expressly provided in this
  104  act and except for this section, which shall take effect July 1,
  105  2016, this act shall take effect October 1, 2016.