WASHINGTON – United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, today wrote to the governors of each state asking them to use a portion of their state’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to increase small business contracting opportunities.

“Considering entrepreneurs’ success in bringing innovative ideas to the forefront and their ability to pay personal attention to each project, small businesses are a critical asset to your state’s economy,” Sens. Landrieu and Snowe said. “We strongly urge you to make your state’s small businesses top priorities when deciding who will be awarded contracting opportunities created by Recovery Act funds.”

Based on the most recent SBA data, small business contractors received more than $83 billion in Federal prime contracts in Fiscal Year 2007 and were responsible for creating or retaining roughly 595,000 jobs. They have pumped almost a trillion dollars into the economy each year and have created 70 percent of all new jobs over the last decade. Yet, 80 percent of all jobs lost since November have come from small firms – a trend that must change, the senators said.

“As our nation digs out of the economic recession, we need our innovators and job creators more than ever,” they said.

Sens. Landrieu and Snowe’s letter follows a similar letter that U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills sent to the governors earlier this month. The Senators are holding a hearing tomorrow regarding small businesses and Recovery Act contracting.

One of the letters is here.