Today, Senator John Kerry is calling on the President to throw his backing behind America’s small businesses. In last year’s State of the Union, President Bush promised relief and support to America’s small business owners. Yet over the last year, small business owners are not better off and in some cases they have taken a step backward.

"Tonight the President has an opportunity to demonstrate he values America’s small business owners," said Senator John Kerry, Ranking Democrat on the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. "If the President truly cares about keeping America competitive, he will provide real resources for our entrepreneurs and innovators – the very backbone of our economy. I call on President Bush to stop delaying immediate relief from high energy costs for small business owners and farmers, to cut the red tape and provide the direly needed loans to Gulf Coast small businesses and homeowners devastated by Katrina, and to fully fund the Small Business Administration’s critical lending programs – including those designed to help women, minorities, and veterans. All of these steps are needed to keep America’s small businesses competitive and to help our economy grow."

A quick look at last year’s State of the Union and President Bush’s real record on small business reveals the true "State of Small Business." See attachment entitled: "President Bush’s Rhetoric vs. Reality on Small Business Issues."

President Bush’s Rhetoric vs. Reality on Small Business Issues

In his 2005 State of the Union address last year, President Bush made promises to small business owners. In reality, the Bush Administration has left behind America’s small businesses.

Rhetoric (2005 SOTU)


“First, we must be good stewards of this economy, and renew the great institutions on which millions of our fellow citizens rely.”

President Bush submitted a budget request for FY06 that cut the Small Business Administration’s budget by 22 percent. The SBA is the only agency dedicated to small businesses, serving over 1.6 million entrepreneurs last year. If the Federal government is a “good steward” of the economy, taxpayers will be rewarded with job creation to make their communities a better place.

“…and in the last year alone, the United States has added 2.3 million new jobs.”

Job growth must expand by 1.8 million jobs per year just to keep pace with population growth.  Under President Bush’s leadership, the unemployment rate reached 6 percent for the first time since 1994.  Small businesses create two-thirds of all net new jobs in this country, yet President Bush is not providing them the real resources to continue to grow and add jobs to communities.

“Now we must add to these achievements.  By making our economy more flexible, more innovative, and more competitive, we will keep America the economic leader of the world.”

President Bush has actually proposed drastic cuts to federal programs designed to foster innovation and increase U.S. economic competitiveness, including the ATP, MEP, and SBIC programs.

America must reward, not punish, the efforts and dreams of entrepreneurs.”

Since taking office in 2001, President Bush has “rewarded” entrepreneurs by cutting the SBA’s budget by 50 percent, made small business loans more expensive, and reduced management counseling and training to small business owners. 

“Small business is the path of advancement, especially for women and minorities…”

President Bush’s budget proposed eliminating programs targeting women and minorities including SBA’s Microloan Program (which proportionally serves the most minorities and women out of all small business assistance programs) and the Program for Investment in Micro-entrepreneurs (which provides in-depth business counseling to low-income entrepreneurs).  The Bush Administration continues to delay the start of a Federal contracting program for women business owners, and is cutting funds to Women’s Business Centers.

“To make our economy stronger and more productive, we must make health care more affordable, and give families greater access to good coverage…”

President Bush is recycling the same AHP proposal that he has unsuccessfully advocated his entire term in office.  This plan will go nowhere in its current form:  It undermines the state regulation of insurance, which weakens important consumer protections and solvency standards; it allows health plans to cherry pick the healthiest members out of the traditional insurance markets; and it targets assistance only to small businesses in membership associations.  Everyone agrees that small businesses need help finding ways to make coverage more affordable for their employees. 

“To keep our economy growing, we also need reliable supplies of affordable, environmentally responsible energy.”

President Bush has done nothing to mitigate the high cost of energy. Instead, the Bush Administration fought John Kerry’s provision (which was supported 96-0 on the Senate floor) to provide low-cost loans to small businesses and farmers suffering from those high prices.

“Some of our servicemen and women have survived terrible injuries, and this grateful country will do everything we can to help them recover.”

The Bush Administration refuses to enforce a contracting program, which Senator Kerry championed, for service-disabled veteran firms, costing these businesses almost $8 billion in Federal contract dollars annually. The Bush Administration refuses to support Senator Kerry’s legislation to offer tax relief to small business owners that employ military reservists called up to active duty.