Central Valley Business Times
June 27, 2008
• Says Sandy Baruah has no small business experience
• ‘The Bush Administration will try to close the Small Business Administration altogether’
The proposed administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration is running into criticism from one of the SBA’s most persistent critics.
Santanu “Sandy” Baruah, head of the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration, and a longtime servant in the Bush Administration, was nominated this week by President George W. Bush to run the agency charged with aiding the nation’s small businesses.
But to Lloyd Chapman, president of the American Small Business League, it’s just more of the same.
"Just like his predecessor, Sandy Baruah has no background experience or interest in small business issues. I am concerned the Bush Administration will continue to dismantle programs for small businesses in middle class America by dramatically increasing the federal definition of a small business to allow large businesses to take contracts away from small firms. I am also concerned the Bush Administration will try to close the Small Business Administration altogether by combining it with the Commerce Department," says Mr. Chapman.
It’s expected to be several months at the earliest before the Senate holds confirmation hearings. If confirmed on such a timetable, it would leave Mr. Baruah barely enough time to warm his chair before the Bush Administration leaves office.
But another group representing small businesses has an opinion opposite that of Mr. Chapman.
“Baruah is a very qualified candidate, and we look forward to working with him as we continue to help amplify the voice of small business. The President’s quick appointment to this post reinforces how important our country’s hard-working small business owners are, especially in tough economic times,” says Dan Danner, executive vice president of the National Federation of Independent Business, in a written statement.
Before joining the Bush Administration in 2001, Mr. Baruah was a consultant with Performance Consulting Group Inc. of Portland, Ore., for six years.
The chairman of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, John Kerry, indicates confirmation hearings may be intense.
“We’ll review Sandy Baruah’s record carefully to make sure that he is the right person for the job,” says Mr. Kerry. “For seven years the Bush Administration has put Wall Street ahead of Main Street, and denied the SBA the funding and staff needed to serve our small businesses. The next administrator at the SBA must be ready to offer creative solutions for the current credit crunch, implement programs that will actually help women and minorities gain access to federal contracts and loans, and make sure that small firms have access to counseling and training to grow their businesses in this tough economic climate.”