Klobuchar Announces Support for Legislation to Strengthen Small Businesses and Boost Job Creation
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced today she will cosponsor a package of small business initiatives as she continues her focus on supporting small businesses in creating jobs and driving U.S. economic recovery. Nationally, small businesses were responsible for an estimated 64 percent of net new jobs created during the past 15 years. Minnesota's 120,000 small businesses account for more than half of the state's private-sector employment and their job growth rate exceeds that of large businesses.
"Small businesses have always been the cornerstone of our economic strength," said Klobuchar. "We must ensure small businesses in Minnesota and across the nation have the tools they need to create jobs and to continue to lead us towards economic recovery."
Nearly all of the measures included in this package have passed out of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship by large, bipartisan margins. Klobuchar said she will push for the inclusion of these small business initiatives in the next jobs legislation the Senate will consider later this spring. The bills sponsored by Klobuchar include the following:
* Small Business Job Creation and Access to Capital Act of 2009 (S. 2869): To increase access to capital, this bill would increase the loan limit cap on small business loans and allow for the refinancing of commercial real estate debt. These changes are expected to be budget neutral and would increase small business lending by $5 billion in the next year. The bill also includes an Intermediary Lending Pilot program, which allows the Small Business Administration (SBA) to make direct loans to eligible nonprofit lending intermediaries, in turn allowing them to make loans to new or growing small businesses.
* Small Business Export Enhancement and International Trade Act of 2009 (S. 2862): With less than one percent of small businesses currently exporting, this bill seeks to provide U.S. small businesses with modernized trade financing and export counseling options that will allow them to more easily expand their businesses overseas to reach new markets.
* Small Business Contracting Revitalization Act of 2010 (S. 2989): This bill would make key changes to federal contracting programs to put more contacts in the hands of small businesses. With the U.S. Federal Government constituting the largest purchaser in the world, it is estimated that increasing the number of federal contracts awarded to small businesses by just one percent could create more than 100,000 new jobs.
* Small Business Community Partner Relief Act of 2010 (S. 3165): This bill would allow the SBA to temporarily waive or reduce the non-federal share of its funding requirements, ensuring that Women's Business Centers (WBCs) and Microloan intermediaries are able to continue to provide importance assistance at a time when it is most needed. These centers provide assistance to underserved segments of the population to help them start and grow small businesses. Due to the current economic situation local governments and universities have reduced support for these programs
* SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2009 (S. 1233): This bill would reauthorize the SBA's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Twenty percent of SBIR participants say they started their company in part because of a prospective SBIR award.
Earlier this year Klobuchar conducted a Small Business Jobs tour around Minnesota to discuss opportunities for job-creation with Minnesota employers and workers. Klobuchar has also convened several export summits to highlight services and support available for small businesses wanting to begin or expand their export business.
Klobuchar is a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and serves as chair of the Subcommittee on Competitiveness, Innovation and Exports.