October 13, 2011
Petaluma, Calif. – On Friday, September 9, your administration announced plans to end one of the most successful federal programs to create jobs and stimulate growth among minority-owned small businesses.
Your administration announced a plan in the Federal Register to end a federal program that established a five percent minority-owned small business federal contracting goal for the Department of Defense, NASA and the U.S. Coast Guard. This change will have a significant negative economic impact on a substantial number of minority-owned small businesses and will cause the loss of millions of jobs.
I question your sincerity in trying to create jobs when, in the middle of one of the worst economic downturns in U.S. history, and when unemployment has hit minority communities especially hard, your administration would end one of the most successful programs to create jobs for minorities. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the jobless figure for African Americans is 16 percent and 11.3 percent among Hispanics. Close to 35 percent of the U.S. population is made up of ethnic minorities and 5.8 million businesses are minority-owned. I have alerted every minority organization that I can think of, and they are as shocked as I am.
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that small businesses create 90 percent of all net new jobs in America. I estimate that this policy will divert billions of dollars in federal contracts away from minority-owned small businesses, thwarting the power of those businesses to expand and hire.
I have been advocating for policies that provide the best possible opportunity for small businesses for two decades, and I have rarely seen anything as damaging as this latest proposal. I have launched a national campaign to block its implementation.
I would also like to remind you of your campaign promise to “end the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants.” With this latest proposal, you seem to be going backwards. The last thing this country needs is for your administration to dismantle programs that help the nation’s chief jobs creators.