By Lloyd Chapman
April 16, 2009
U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez's suggestion that the HUBZone program for small businesses be eliminated because some firms were misrepresenting themselves ("Velazquez responds," Letters, April 9 and PghTrib.com) seems illogical and ludicrous. Using her logic, any and all federal programs where fraud and abuse have been uncovered should also be eliminated. That would include Medicare, Social Security, all disaster relief programs and hundreds of other federal programs.
Velazquez would apparently eliminate a federal program that has created thousands of jobs and push thousands of legitimate, hardworking small businesses that are properly complying with the program into bankruptcy.
In the years she has been on the House Small Business Committee, more than a dozen federal investigations have found hundreds of billions of dollars in federal small business contracts diverted to Fortune 500 firms. Thousands of legitimate small businesses across the country have been devastated. As the chairwoman of that committee, she has done absolutely nothing to address this problem, which the Small Business Administration's Office of Inspector General called "one of the most important challenges facing the Small Business Administration and the entire federal government today."
As America continues to struggle with one of the worst economic disasters in history, we need leaders in Congress who have a sincere compassion for the small businesses that represent more than 99 percent of all employer firms. Velazquez obviously does not fall into that category.
The writer is president of the American Small Business League.