Senate panel approves funding to boost Whitehall jobs, small business development

Measure to help fund ongoing recovery from community’s 2009 fire

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Following a massive 2009 fire that destroyed several buildings in downtown Whitehall, Senator Jon Tester and his colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee have passed legislation that would help establish a revolving loan fund to grow small businesses in the community, Tester and Senator Max Baucus announced today.
The community of Whitehall is still dealing with the fire’s physical and economic effects.
The Senate Financial Services Appropriations Act includes funding for the Jefferson Local Development Corporation to set up the loan fund and help local businesses recover.
Whitehall Mayor Mary Janacaro Hensleigh says the funding will help put Whitehall residents to work, create jobs and bolster the area’s economic growth.
“This is very welcome news for the Town of Whitehall,” Janacaro Hensleigh said.  “Jon and Max clearly understand what it will take to rebuild after the devastating fire last year.  This loan fund will be used on Main Street to rebuild and grow so we can restore our vibrant downtown.  Special thanks to Tom Harrington and Tara Mastel of the Jefferson Local Development Corporation.”
“Putting folks in Montana back to work while bolstering our local economies are exactly the kinds of projects I’m proud to support,” Tester said.  “These dollars are another step towards helping the families of Whitehall get back on their feet.”
“As the Whitehall community continues recovering from last year, this funding is a needed boost for local businesses,” Baucus sad.  “This is a good investment for the residents of Whitehall, and for future generations.”
Under the current legislation, the Jefferson Local Development Corporation will receive $150,000 to establish the revolving fund for small business loans.
The legislation must first pass the full Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives before the funding can be signed into law.

For a full list of funding for Montana under the Financial Services Appropriations Act, click HERE.

What is an appropriations bill?
  • A federal appropriations bill funds the federal government.  12 appropriations bills will fund the federal government for the next Fiscal Year.
  • Less than one half of one percent of these appropriations bills consist of congressionally directed funding (also called “earmarks”).  This funding is not additional spending for the federal government, nor does it increase federal deficit.  Rather, it is a set of directions telling the government where it must use existing funds.
  • In the past, appropriations funding had been abused by anonymous requests with little transparency.
  • Since 2007, the process was overhauled to guarantee transparency and fair debate in Congress.
  • All of Tester’s and Baucus’ appropriations requests are online HERE and HERE.