Posts Tagged ‘National Small Business Association’

Small Business is Too Big to Fail

Saturday, June 12th, 2010
Not So Welcoming in Washington

Not So Welcoming in Washington

The National Small Business Association published “Squandered Opportunities and Misplaced Priorities: Why Small Business is Too Big to Fail”, a report chronicling certain of the largest opportunities Congress and the administration missed in addressing the biggest challenges facing U.S. small businesses.

“There are more than 70 million people in the U.S. who work for, or run a small business – one-third of the voting population in the U.S.,” stated NSBA President Todd McCracken. “Despite that number, and the increased public profile of small business, not enough has been done to actually help small businesses survive the economic downturn.”

NSBA’s campaign, “Small Business: 70 Million Strong…And Voting” educates lawmakers, candidates and the public on the importance of small business to the U.S. economy. In the two years since the campaign was launched, the U.S. economy has plunged into recession, resulting in a new (at least in word, if not deed) recognition of the importance of small businesses to job creation. But speeches have not led to constructive policy.

“Squandered Opportunities and Misplaced Priorities” highlights Washington’s most disappointing failures, including the failure to enact long-term reauthorization of the Small Business Innovation and Research Program, the exclusion of small business credit card accounts from the protections afforded by the CARD legislation; failure to correct the distorted incentives of the estate tax and the failure to ensure fair labor law processes. The report compares the cost of addressing these key small business priorities to the cost of other initiatives of the administration, such as the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and health-care reform legislation. The cost differential is staggering: $2.9 trillion spent on major initiatives vs. $358 billion, the estimated cost of small business programs called for in pending legislation.

“Despite our very-well earned frustration at these many missteps, NSBA’s small-business members still believe there is a way forward,” stated NSBA Chair Keith Ashmus and co-founding partner at Frantz Ward, LLP in Cleveland, Ohio. “However, more can and must be done—small business will no longer accept rhetoric in the place of action.”

White House Briefing for Small Businesses

Saturday, May 29th, 2010
White House Briefing Agenda

White House Briefing Agenda

This weekend concludes National Small Business Week, a tradition that began with President John F. Kennedy in 1963. I had the pleasure of spending part of the week in Washington DC, participating in events organized by the National Small Business Association, which recognized me as one of five finalists for the honor of small business advocate of the year. The White House organized a policy briefing for us; I have attached the agenda in the image graphic. For me the highlight of the briefing was the presentation by Gene Sperling, Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury. He highlighted the four components of the Administration’s small business legislation package that he expects Congress to pass by the Fourth of July. He shared two concerns about the state of small businesses that particularly resonated with me. First, the National Federation of Independent Business publishes an index of small business optimism, reflecting the expectations and views business owners have about the state of the economy. We also have a “CEO Outlook” index, the Fortune-500 equivalent, that captures the big business view of the economy. These two indices should be the same, reflecting the same economy, but in fact there is a wide divergence in views and expectations. Small business and big business are having completely unrelated experiences in our current market which conditions their hopes for the future. The second, and related point, concerns the contraction in bank credit. Large corporations finance only 30% of their capital needs through banks; the comparable figure for small businesses is 90%. So when banks contract their lending, small businesses are more severely impacted.  In future blog postings, I will write in greater detail about the issues discussed at this policy briefing and invite your comments. I will tell you that it was 99 degrees outside when we were in Washington DC and despite the stifling heat and humidity, I am very glad that I participated. We had a number of events for several hundred small business owners across the country to come together and work on policy issues of common concern. As difficult as the economy is right now, it is truly inspiring to be engaged in the small business community.