June 22, 2010
Petaluma, Calif. - On Monday, June 14, the Obama Administration surprised small business owners across the country by announcing a small business forum to be held at the U.S. Department of Commerce on June 28. The agenda has been so narrowly focused that it will be difficult, if not impossible, for meeting attendees to bring up President Obama's broken campaign promises to small businesses such as, "it is time to end the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants." (http://www.barackobama.com/2008/02/26/the_american_small_business_le.php)
The American Small Business League (ASBL) believes the Obama Administration has fast tracked the registration process and erected barriers as a means of discouraging attendance by small business interests outside the Washington D.C. area.
The ASBL maintains the short notice and other registration barriers may have a chilling effect on the attendance of small business owners who take issue with the Obama Administration's poor track record for small businesses. (http://www.asbl.com/documents/20100526_ASBL_AnalysisObamaSB.pdf)
Although the forum was supposedly designed to collect input from small businesses on ways to increase their business with government, no small business registrant has received notification that they will be allowed to speak. Legitimate small business organizations or individual small business owners who had hoped to be heard, will not know if they will be allowed to speak. This has made it extremely difficult for small business owners outside the Washington area to attend. To make matters worse, the forum will be extremely short, which has also discouraged individuals around the country from attending.
The ASBL believes the true purpose of the forum is to gain support in the media for Obama Administration policies that may actually reduce small business contracting opportunities with the federal government.
"I guarantee President Obama will try to use his small business task force and this meeting to push policies that will actually reduce the volume of federal contracts to legitimate small businesses under the guise of helping small businesses," ASBL President Lloyd Chapman said. "A proposal to change the definition of a small business, which would divert small business funds to firms controlled by venture capitalists, is a certainty. I wouldn't be surprised if he tried to weaken small business programs further by breaking up the SBA. Big defense contractors and wealthy venture capitalists want the $150 billion that is supposed to go to small businesses, and they contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to President Obama and congress to achieve that goal."