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Velázquez Comments on Trump SBA Budget, Infrastructure Plan

Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), the top Democrat on the House Small Business Committee, commented today on the Trump Administration’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget for the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Administration’s infrastructure proposal:

            “I’m deeply troubled by the Trump Administration’s budget proposal for SBA.  The agency is proposing an overall cut to SBA of more than 25%.  Let’s keep in mind: this is the only agency in the federal government tasked solely with helping small businesses succeed.  Depriving the SBA of needed resources means fewer entrepreneurs launch new enterprises and existing companies will be less likely to expand and create jobs. 

            “I’m particularly worried that the proposal requires SBA’s lending partners to pay an additional $155 million in fees to cover lost revenue.  Moving SBA’s programs to a model heavily dependent on fees paid by lending partners constitutes a fundamental policy shift at the agency, and doing so could disincentive lender participation, ultimately restricting the flow of capital to small businesses.  Moreover, the proposal to reduce fee reductions for small dollar borrowers would disproportionately harm underserved borrowers.

            “This budget would also make significant cuts to SBA’s Entrepreneurial Development programs, which provide valuable counseling services to aspiring entrepreneurs, as well as more established business owners.  A cut of $15 million to the Small Business Development Centers program simply tells the agency to do more with less, depriving our nation’s job creators of badly needed resources. 

            “Finally, I would note that the President’s infrastructure outline fails our small businesses. Whereas a proper, robust infrastructure investment proposal could bring significant benefit to the small companies that dominate construction, engineering, architecture and related sectors, the President’s plan completely misses the mark.

            “Unfortunately, the President’s proposal woefully underfunds infrastructure priorities and actually cuts $168 billion of other infrastructure projects. While the proposed federal investments are insufficient, the White House expects cash-strapped states and cities to make up the shortfall.  Even worse, the plan would essentially auction off many of our public infrastructure assets to private companies, allowing them to charge tolls to those using our road and other infrastructure.  Small businesses rely on our nation’s public bridges, highways and roadways to move their products and deliver their services. This privatized infrastructure approach would mean many small companies will be paying big Wall Street companies to utilize and access our nation’s transportation arteries. 

            “Of course, while large Wall Street companies may benefit from this radical new infrastructure approach, there’s nothing in the President’s proposal that would guarantee small companies receive their fair share of federal contracts for the new infrastructure upgrades. In fact, in the 53-page document, the phrase ‘small business’ does not even appear once.  Absent an assurance that small firms will receive their fair share of this work, the small business sector should be very skeptical of this plan. 

           “Democrats understand that entrepreneurship creates opportunity and new jobs. We believe in ‘A Better Deal’ for our nation, and that includes helping small businesses succeed. We look forward to moving that agenda forward, but, first, that requires rejecting these reckless proposals by the Trump Administration, so that we may start implementing real policies to foster small business growth.” 

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