Tell your congressman not to hurt small businesses
Supporting small and minority-owned businesses is good for our economy.
Small businesses are responsible for the majority of jobs growth in the U.S. and minorityowned businesses create jobs at three times the rate of their nonminority counterparts.
Here in Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration has been fighting to make more resources available in the Commonwealth to help these businesses to succeed and grow ever since the Governor signed Executive Order 2015-11 Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities in Commonwealth Procurement and in Pennsylvania’s Economy.
Last year, the Department of Community and Economic Development introduced the Small Diverse Business Capital Access Program, which provides low-interest loans and lines of credit to small businesses in Pennsylvania that have been certified as minority-, woman-, veteran-, disabledor Lgbt-owned small businesses with 100 or fewer full-time employees.
Greater access to capital is provided to these businesses in return for their commitments to creating and retaining full-time jobs in our state.
This exciting new program is administered by the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority. According to the recently released Federal Reserve Bank Small Business Credit Survey, 61 percent of American small businesses faced financial challenges in 2016, and 44 percent had problems getting sufficient credit to support their operations.
Pennsylvania is taking the steps to properly gauge the severity of these and other issues facing our small diverse business community.
For example, the Commonwealth will soon commission the state’s first-ever comprehensive statewide disparity study. The results of the study will be used to improve the Commonwealth’s approach to contracting, statewide. Pennsylvania can lead the way.
Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same way. With his proposed $43.2 million cut to the Small Business Administration, President Trump’s budget specifically targets the Minority Business Development Agency and initiatives like the Program for Investment in Micro-entrepreneurs, or PRIME, for elimination.
The PRIME program and others that promote business ownership among the most vulnerable segments of our population are all on the federal chopping block.
Republicans in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives evidently share President Trump’s mindset.
Their crippling budget bill, HB 218, slashes funding to critical agencies and programs. We have deep concerns about the impact that this bill’s incremental cuts of more than $800 million would have on the Commonwealth’s ability to provide vital services.
HB 218 even includes a shortsighted and devastating $3.9 million cut to our Partnerships for Regional Economic Performance program, or PREP, which supports regional coordination services, and provides performancebased grants to local Industrial Development Organizations, Development Districts, and Small Business Development Centers.
President Trump’s budget proposal and Pennsylvania’s HB 218 would both be bad for small and small diverse businesses in Pennsylvania and bad for our economy. Both would undermine the recent progress we have made thanks to Governor Wolf’s leadership.
Small and small diverse business owners are our family, friends and neighbors. They are part of our communities. Support them now by contacting your state and federal legislators and letting them know that you are opposed to spending plans that would cut these vital programs that strengthen our economy and communities.
Curt Topper is the secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of General Services, and Dennis Davin is the secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.