Michaud Joins Colleagues in Introducing Legislation to Revitalize the Small Business Administration
Urges Congress to Pass Bill for Small Businesses to Grow and Create Jobs
Today, Congressman Mike Michaud joined his colleagues on the House Small Business Committee in announcing the introduction of comprehensive legislation to revitalize and enhance the sole agency charged with aiding this nation's small businesses - the Small Business Administration (SBA).
"Everyone knows how important small businesses are to the success of our economy - in Maine they account for nearly 98% of all businesses," said Michaud. "Ensuring that the SBA has all the tools necessary to help small businesses continue to grow and create jobs is crucial."
Many small businesses are struggling to deal with skyrocketing energy and health care costs, access to affordable small business capital, and the inability to break through and compete in the federal marketplace. The legislation introduced today, the Empowering the Next Generation by Investing in the Nation's Entrepreneurs (ENGINE) Act, aims to help re-energize the agency so that it can assist entrepreneurs with these challenges.
"The SBA has a number of very successful programs that help our nation's entrepreneurs every day," said Michaud. "Unfortunately, the budgets that have been submitted by the Administration over the years have led to significant reductions in the agency's overall funding. Although the SBA district office in Maine has been generally successful in its mission despite staffing and funding cutbacks, our federal government owes our nation's small businesses more - we need to pass legislation like the ENGINE Act that boosts their job creating potential and that improves the SBA's mission."
The ENGINE Act addresses some of the most pressing issues for small businesses today. The cost of capital has doubled for entrepreneurs that use SBA's largest long term lending program - 7(a). This legislation reduces the cost of the program, making it a more affordable option for entrepreneurs. It also broadens access to capital for rural, underserved and low income areas, like many in Maine.
To address the problems plaguing SBA's disaster loan program, the bill forces SBA to have a comprehensive plan of action in place. It also offers assistance to the businesses that were most severely impacted by disasters and unable to secure loans - and enables the private sector to assist in the processing of disaster loans.
"Contract bundling continues to hurt small businesses and this legislation will help provide fairness in the federal contracting system by protecting small businesses from being adversely impacted by the creation of mega contracts," said Michaud. "The failure of the federal government to meet its 23 percent small business goal last year cost entrepreneurs $1.6 billion in lost contracting opportunities. It's crucial to our small businesses that we remove federal procurement barriers so that they can compete."
While small businesses continue to be largely shut out of the federal marketplace, this legislation protects taxpayers against contracting fraud and opens up opportunity by increasing the federal small business contracting goal from 23 to 30 percent.
In order to ensure that entrepreneurial development for small businesses continues, the bill strengthens the Small Business Development Centers and the Women's Business Centers. In addition, the bill provides incentives that will enable entrepreneurs to reduce their energy costs and purchase affordable health insurance.
"Today marks the first major step in Congress' renewal of its commitment to small businesses," said Michaud. "As the main job creators, small businesses deserve the federal government's full support and passing this legislation would be a positive signal that the federal government is truly a partner, not a barrier, to their development."