WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship CommitteeRanking Member Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME) today sent Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Steven Preston a letter outlining a comprehensive set of small business stimulus proposals to reinvigorate the economy. Senator Snowe also requested that Administrator Preston provide the Committee with any additional measures the SBA believes would be beneficial.
“As America’s small businesses constitute 99.7 percent of all employing firms and employ nearly half of the private-sector workforce, it is only appropriate that a significant portion of stimulus legislation focus on small enterprises,” wrote Senator Snowe. “I am working with my colleagues on targeted, timely, and fiscally responsible proposals to improve access to capital, bolster the SBA’s economic development programs, promote small business contracting, and resolve the crisis in small business health insurance. I request that the SBA provide the Committee with proposals for stimulating the economy in 2008 so that Congress can assemble the most effective package possible.”
Senator Snowe called on Congress to enact several small businesses proposals to jumpstart economic recovery, including the “Small Business Lending Reauthorization and Improvements Act” (S. 1256), legislation she introduced with Small Business Committee Chair John Kerry (D-MA) to promote small business’ access to capital.
“With the economy slowing, now is clearly the time to help small businesses access the capital they need to expand and create jobs,” said Senator Snowe. “As banks respond to current economic conditions by raising their credit requirements, making it more difficult for small businesses to receive loans, Congress must pass the ‘Small Business Lending Reauthorization and Improvements Act’ to increase banks’ ability and willingness to make SBA loans to small businesses.”
Senator Snowe also expressed her support for fully funding SBA programs that are critical to helping small businesses receive the counseling and economic support they need to commence and sustain operations, as well as to create new employment opportunities for America’s workforce. These include Small Business Development Centers, the Microloan program, Women’s Business Centers, the HUBZone program, Procurement Center Representatives, the 7(j) Technical Assistance Program, Veterans Business Development, and SCORE.
“In order for the SBA to satisfy the evolving needs of twenty-first century small businesses, Congress and the Administration must work together to provide essential support for the SBA’s core programs and services that continue to prove their success and economic significance,” said Senator Snowe. “These programs truly help small enterprises grow, expand, and, most critically, create jobs.”
Noting that it is unacceptable that Federal agencies continue to fail to meet government-wide procurement contracting goals for HUBZone firms, service-disabled veterans, and women-owned small businesses, Senator Snowe said she will push to enact the “Small Business Contracting Revitalization Act of 2007” (S. 2300), legislation that passed the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee unanimously and that would create various tools to help small businesses obtain government contracts.
“Given that Federal contracting is a vital source of revenue for small businesses across the nation and that maintaining diversity within Federal procurement creates additional stability for our nation’s economy, Congress must act to ensure that government-wide procurement goals are met and exceeded,” said Senator Snowe. “With our economy teetering on the brink of recession, we simply can no longer afford to fall short in this regard.”
Additionally, Senator Snowe praised Administrator Preston for indicating his support for legislation to ease the small business health insurance crisis during his January 22 “State of the SBA” speech. Enabling small firms to provide health insurance to their employees remains one of Senator Snowe’s top priorities for 2008.
“I thank Administrator Preston for recognizing that rising health insurance costs are inhibiting the ability of small businesses to create new jobs and drive the economy,” said Senator Snowe. “For the declining number of small businesses that are able to offer health insurance, increasing health care costs are leaving those firms with fewer resources to devote to infrastructure improvements or hire additional personnel. I will continue to aggressively push for a bipartisan compromise solution to the small business health insurance crisis once and for all to ensure that small enterprises can grow and expand in the global marketplace.”