U.S. Senator George LeMieux (R-FL) today visited Electric Supply, Inc and met with representatives from the Tampa export community. LeMieux discussed the importance of the Export Promotion Act, which would provide small businesses with the knowledge and resources necessary to begin exporting goods and services. Included in an amendment introduced by Sens. LeMieux and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) to the Small Business Jobs Act, the measure advanced in the Senate yesterday and is now one step closer to being enacted.
"Electric Supply, Inc. is a great example of how exporting can benefit and grow a business," LeMieux said. "The entrepreneurial spirit of this company has created jobs, opportunities, and a better way of life in our communities. And by all means, government should do all it can to encourage and promote this kind of economic activity. The Export Promotion Act will assist U.S. businesses that are looking to export their products but do not have the resources or know-how to find new international customers."
Senators LeMieux and Landrieu included the Export Promotion Act as part of their bipartisan amendment to the Small Business Jobs Act. The Export Promotion provision would increase the activities and staffing of the Department of Commerce in carrying out its mission to promote U.S. exports. It would also increase the export grants funds available to industry associations and non-profit institutions. Finally, the legislation requires that decisions to fund manufacturing and innovation grants include exporting potential as one of the application considerations.
BACKGROUND: A number of Florida business owners and national and state organizations support Senator LeMieux's set of measures, included in his amendment to the Small Business Jobs Act, designed to spur growth among small businesses:
R. Bruce Josten, Executive Vice President Government Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, would support the amendment in the nature of a substitute to H.R. 5297, the "Small Business Jobs Act of 2010," after fair consideration of Senate amendments. To get the economy back on track and generating jobs, America needs a strong and vibrant small business community. To that end, H.R. 5297 contains many provisions that would allow entrepreneurs to have more access to capital. Additionally, the bill contains important tax code changes that would encourage investment, promote fairness, and allow small business owners to retain existing cash flow from operations in order to start, grow, and expand their enterprises."
Barney Bishop III, President & CEO, Associated Industries of Florida Regarding Small Business Jobs Act
"Small businesses are the epitome of the American dream, the lifeblood of our state's economy and the source of employment for millions of Floridians. Without this critical cog in our economic engine, we'd be in far worse financial shape than we already are. That's why we must do all we can to bolster our small businesses and see that they make it through these difficult times.
"For the last several years, Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) has been aggressively advocating -- at both the state and federal level -- for policies and programs that assist small business and lead to jobs, jobs and more jobs.
"The Small Business Jobs Act moving through the U.S. Senate right now will do just that. Included in this comprehensive bill are measures that increase small and medium-sized businesses' access to capital and small business loans, encourage investment, provide tax breaks and create incentives that will reinvigorate the entrepreneurial spirit that is so deeply engrained in our national identity. All of which are necessary to help maintain and create jobs through the establishment of new businesses and expansion of existing ones. The Small Business Jobs Act hits all the right points and has something that could positively impact nearly every small business in the country.
"AIF commends Sen. LeMieux for his dedication to small business and his support of the Small Business Jobs Act. We strongly encourage his colleagues on Capitol Hill to join Sen. LeMieux in his support for the Small Business Jobs Act and pass this important piece of legislation."
David Hart, Executive Vice-President, Florida Chamber of Commerce
"Florida businesses are the backbone of our state's economy," said David Hart, Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. "Their ability to access capital is critical for economic recovery and job growth. The Florida Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council believes the Small Business Lending Fund will enhance the ability of small business owners to create jobs and transition Florida to a new and sustainable economy."
Alex Sanchez, President and CEO, Florida Bankers Association
"As Floridians, we need to thank Senator George Lemieux for his bi-partisan leadership in working to make the Small Business Lending bill a reality. This bill will help create jobs for Floridians by increasing the loans to Florida's economic engine: SMALL BUINESSES. This bill also helps Florida and the other Gulf States impacted by the oil spill crisis."
Camden R. Fine, President and CEO, Independent Community Bankers of America
"Florida Senator George LeMieux has stepped up for community banks and small businesses in support of the SBLF. This legislation is a positive for our community banking sector and to our small business customers who are vital to job creation and the economic recovery. Failure to advance it in the Senate would be a missed opportunity. While the SBLF is not a silver bullet fix for community bankers' many concerns, it would provide another capital option for community banks to leverage and expand small business credit."
Robert Hughes, National Association for the Self-Employed
"America's self-employed represent 78 percent of all small businesses in the United States and contributeclose to $1 trillion to our economy. More importantly, these businesses have long been pillars of innovation and job creation, fueling much of what is great about our nation.
"A chief obstacle that America's smallest businesses are facing in the current economic climate is the inability to access credit and financing essential to managing and growing their business. Additionally, many simply need funding to keep their doors open while weathering this economic storm.
"The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE), on behalf of our 200,000 member businesses, strongly supports creating the Small Business Lending Fund, which we hope will alleviate the funding and credit freeze faced by small businesses by expanding loan resources. Local lending institutions, such as community banks, are in a unique position to help small business and the Small Business Lending Fund will assist them with the additional financing needed to support their local micro-businesses.
"Though small in size, the self-employed are large in number -- totaling 23 million in our nation. The self-employed are a vital part of communities and local economies. Ensuring their survival and providing necessary funding for growth will in turn benefit America's economy. Healthy small businesses mean healthy families, healthy communities and a healthy economy."
Todd Kocourek, President & CEO, Florida First Capital Finance Corporation.
"The Small Business Council of the Florida Chamber of Commerce has worked with Florida small businesses to identify the greatest impediments to their recovery and growth as the greatest job-creating engine of the Florida Economy," said Todd Kocourek, President and Chief Executive Officer of Florida First Capital Finance Corporation. "Those businesses have put improvement to their access to capital at the top of the list. With his vote in support of this bill, Senator LeMieux has provided a tremendous boost to efforts to solve this problem for Florida small businesses, and we are very grateful for his help."
Stuart W. Doyle, Enterprise Florida Inc.
"More than 900,000 jobs in Florida are directly tied to exports; therefore, the Export Promotion Act will enhance the U.S. government's ability to help Florida's smaller and medium-sized companies expand and diversify their exports," said John Adams Jr., president & CEO of Enterprise Florida Inc. "The Act could be instrumental to the creation of more higher-wage jobs for Florida citizens, and we applaud Senator LeMieux's efforts in this important initiative."
G. Lee Sandler, Chairman, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce
"On behalf of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce we wish to thank you for your leadership in promoting legislative initiatives to promote United States exports. The Chamber, and the 400,000 South Florida residents employed by our members, recognizes that our economic well-being is strongly tied to international trade and export growth. The Export Promotion Act contains many important provisions which we believe will generate significant opportunities for United States business to compete in a growing and competitive global marketplace This is a time for Congress and the Administration to provide new funding and innovative programs for export promotion activities. We support your efforts to move these provisions forward."
Javier Palomarez, President and CEO, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
"The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), which represents more than 200 local Hispanic chambers and serves as the national advocate for nearly three million Hispanic-owned businesses in our country, supports passage of the Small Business Lending Fund Act. The passage of this Act is critical for our small businesses that have the expertise and the will to grow, but lack the necessary capital to move forward.
"By providing up to $30 billion in capital to small banks, this funding will go directly to the community banks that service our businesses. Further, these financial institutions, having survived the financial crisis outperforming larger banks in the process, have illustrated a strong commitment to fiscal responsibility and have demonstrated their ability to service their communities under the most difficult of situations -- these are exactly the institutions that should serve as vehicles for capital for our small businesses.
"The small businesses that we represent are a vital source of job creation and economic stimulus that historically have been overlooked by lenders. Our business owners have been disproportionally affected by the financial crisis through no fault of their own and have relied on small and community banks as their life lines during these times of peril. As the voice for Hispanic small businesses across the nation, we urge you to support the passage of this important piece of legislation."
Ted Smith, President Florida Auto Dealers Association
"This amendment to expand the availability of credit to my Florida dealers is long overdue. Lenders have withdrawn en mass from this credit line and the result has been devastating for Florida. Auto dealers are historically 19% of Florida's retail sales tax revenues and with the lack of floorplanning credit and the crunch on retail credit available to consumers, our Florida revenues are down 30% and the result on Florida revenues is analogous. We have lost over 150 dealers in this great state due to a variety of factors and the lack of floorplan credit is the single largest crippler of the auto dealer. We applaud Senator LeMieux's steadfast support for this effort and encourage other Senators to embrace these measures that increase small and medium-sized businesses' access to capital and small business loans."