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Congressman Walsh Holds Hearing on Proposed SBA Changes to Small Business Size Standards

Washington, May 5, 2011 -

WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Congressman Joe Walsh (R-IL), Chairman of the House Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access, today held a hearing to examine the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) proposed changes to the small business size standards for the scientific, technical, and professional service industries. The information from this hearing will be useful as the SBA is in the process of redefining what exactly is a small business. Today’s hearing focused specifically on legal services, accounting and tax preparation services, architectural and engineering services, computer systems related services, management services and advertising.

“Any time government agencies talk about altering regulations and standards it concerns me, since the result rarely makes life easier for small businesses,” said Walsh. “As the SBA moves forward to redefine exactly what is a small business, it is crucial that we examine the effects it could have on small firms and make sure the changes are responsible. America’s small businesses are the engine of our economy and our best job creators—and any change should make it easier for them to do business, not more burdensome or costly.

“At today’s hearing, we heard firsthand from small business owners who provided specific insight into factors that must be addressed by the SBA, such as grouping related industries, reducing the number of size standards, and the issue of small businesses being denied the protections of the Small Business Act. SBA has more work to do on this proposed rule, and I hope they will give the small business community more time to respond. 

 “As Chairman of the Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access Subcommittee, I will be watching this process closely to ensure that the review is not rushed and that any revisions made are in the best interest of American small businesses.”

To view Chairman Walsh’s opening statement, witness testimony and related hearing documents, click

Notable Witness Quotes:

Walter J. Hainsfurther, of Des Plaines, IL, President of Kurtz Associates Architects and a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA), said, “The current economic crisis has affected every American, but, as this Committee knows all too well, it has hit small businesses like mine particularly hard… I have gone from a firm of 25 architects five years ago down to 5 architects today. I have not taken a salary in two years so that I can keep the lights on and pay my employees.” Hainsfurther went on to say, “As you can see, I fit the definition of a small business and I don’t need any further competition. The proposed SBA rule would further increase competition and keep me and other small businesses out of government contracts, which is not the purpose of the change.”

Odysseus Lanier, Partner at McConnell Jones Lanier & Murphy LLP in Houston, TX said, “It is unconscionable to think that firms like ours and others, that have made the appropriate investments to grow their businesses, are required to compete with the titans of our profession for Federal contracts rather than our peer accounting and consulting firms because we exceeded an anachronistic small business size standard for our profession… I strongly believe that it is time to consider leveling the playing field and allowing small accounting firms to provide our value-added services in an expanded Federal marketplace by increasing the small business size standard to $25.5 million.”