Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) praised the Small Business Administration (SBA) for yesterday proposing increases in size definitions for 71 types of businesses, including many in the retail trade, hospitality, and food services sectors.

“The proposed increase in size standards for these various small businesses will undoubtedly help thousands of companies utilize the full range of the SBA’s critical lending, contracting, and counseling programs,” said Ranking Member Snowe.  “The issue of outdated size standards has been discussed at recent committee roundtables, and I am pleased that the SBA has been actively listening to stakeholders, experts, and policymakers to tackle this difficult issue.  Given that some size standards have not been reviewed in over two decades, it is high time the Federal government’s definitions match the reality facing small businesses that are struggling to compete and survive.”

The SBA is presently examining each industry to ensure that existing size standards are based on current economic data.  The present proposal is the first step in the process of updating size standards.  According to the SBA, the last overall review of size standards occurred over 25 years ago.  Reviews of size standards occur periodically, but are limited to analyses of specific industries requested by the public or Federal agencies.  

Additionally, the SBA is asking the public to comment on the data and methodology that the agency uses to evaluate and revise size standards as well as a number of policy issues, such as how high of a size standard is too high and how many size standards are appropriate.  Comments on the SBA’s proposed rule and methodology can be submitted through December 21, 2009.  The SBA will evaluate comments before issuing a final rule.