Advocacy Experts and Leaders Reunite at Small Business Conference
February 12-14, the National Small Business Association (NSBA) held its Small Business Congress (SBC) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Participants at the event included current and past Advocacy leaders, including former Chief Counsels Jere Glover and Tom Sullivan and Acting Chief Counsel Shawne McGibbon.
Advocacy Chief Economist Dr. Chad Moutray led a Small Business Economic Forum and released the 2008 edition of the Office of Advocacy’s Small Business Economy report. Chad’s presentation focused on general and small business economic trends, which made for a rather gloomy discussion. The U.S. economy is in a recession; real GDP and consumption have recently fallen by over three percent, and the unemployment rate continues to increase. Particularly hard hit is small business lending, which has slowed down dramatically. Despite this uphill battle, Chad reminded attendees that small businesses are often the first ones to recover from a recession. Difficult economic times are also often an impetus for increased entrepreneurship.
Acting Chief Counsel for Advocacy Shawne C. McGibbon, Assistant Chief Counsel Major Clark, and former Chief Counsel Tom Sullivan participated in a panel on Environment & Regulatory Affairs. Shawne shared with attendees Advocacy’s recently published annual report on federal agency compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). Advocacy’s efforts resulted in a whopping $10.7 billion in federal regulatory cost savings for fiscal year 2008. Looking forward, she also discussed what she considers to be the four biggest regulatory issues for small business right now: No-Match (DHS), CPSIA/toxic toys (Consumer Product Safety Commission), greenhouse gasses (EPA), and H2-A and H2-B visas (DHS). More information on these issues and our efforts are available on our website.
Major focused on the small business contracting opportunities in the economic stimulus bill. Attendees raised concerns about the ability of small businesses to finance contracts that may become available under the Recovery Act. Major shared information on several tools in the Federal Acquisition regulations on contract financing and the SBA Certificate of Competency program, which he said should be carefully considered as potential tools for small businesses to overcome some financing hurdles. On February 19, the Office of Management and Budget released initial guidance to agencies for administrating stimulus funds. Section 6 of this memo recognizes the problems of businesses financing contracts and it encourages agencies to use alternatives to contract financing.
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