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Advocates irked by last-minute forum call

By Jan Norman
OC Register
June 21, 2010

The American Small Business League, based in Petaluma, has launched a nationwide campaign to get small-business groups to send representatives to a hastily called public forum to collect public comment on the new Interagency Task Force on Small Business.

The forum will be at 1 p.m. June 28 at the Dept. of Commerce building in Washington D.C. Participants must preregister by today. Those who can’t attend have until June 30 to submit written comments to SB_TaskForce_Comment@sba.gov.

Notice of the meeting was published in the Federal Register June 14.

“The American Small Business League believes the Obama Administration opted to hold the meeting in Washington D.C. on short notice to minimize comments from angry small businesses over the administration’s failed small-business track record,” said league President Lloyd Chapman.

The league’s primary issue is the federal government’s ongoing goal to spend a certain amount of its money with small businesses. However, administrations from both political parties have claimed significant spending with small businesses when the money has gone to Fortune 500 companies.
“In the most egregious example, President Obama has allowed the continued diversion of more than $100 billion a year in federal small-business contracts to Fortune 500 firms and even some of the largest corporations in the world,” ASBL said.

But that’s not the only issue small-business advocates have complained about recently.

  • The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council complained on June 15 that “up to 80% of all small businesses may be forced to switch health care plans in order to conform to government requirements” under the new health insurance reform law.
  • The National Federation of Independent Business on June 14 also objected to the new health reform regulations that “take away small business choice and flexibility.”
  • American Solutions for Winning the Future on June 15 said the proposed energy tax in response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill will kill jobs.

In the Federal Register meeting notice, interested public and private partners are asked to offer their views of the challenges small businesses face in pursuing federal contracts, how to overcome these challenges and increase “small-business participation in the federal marketplace.”

“I’m predicting that the Obama Administration will use its ’small-business task force’ and this sham meeting on June 28 to push anti-small business policies like changing the definition of small businesses to include larger firms (more than 99% of U.S. businesses are already categorized as small by federal definitions) or dismantling the (U.S. Small Business Administration) by combining it with the U.S. Department of Commerce,” Chapman said. “If President Obama really wanted to help small businesses, he would quit diverting small-business funds to Fortune 500 firms.

Karen Karrigan, head of the SBE Council, said, “The ASBL makes valid points about the Administration’s lack of sensitivity and understanding regarding the realities of small business and how policies impact their ability to compete.

“More broadly, I have no confidence that the Administration will actually listen and follow up on small business input and concerns. My experience with the Administration and the various agencies to date on a host of issues has shown that they sometimes go through the motions of soliciting input, but rarely does that input show up in actual policy. In fact, the policies and legislation supported by the Administration often imposes more costs and burdens on entrepreneurs rather than helping them.

“For example, in the world of government procurement, policies supported by the Administration that favor project labor agreements, Davis-Bacon expansion and adding labor-related requirements to contracts or stimulus projects all put small businesses at a competitive disadvantage.”

Source:  http://jan.ocregister.com/2010/06/21/advocates-irked-by-last-minute-forum-call/40117/



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