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Report Seeks Greater Focus on Small Business

January 23, 2002|KAREN ROBINSON-JACOBS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A 14-page report to be released today by Democratic members of the House Small Business Committee blasts the Bush administration and congressional leaders for giving short shrift to small-business issues during the most recent congressional session.

"The new administration and congressional leadership ... proved to be the best friend big business ever had," says the report, to be released by Nydia M. Velazquez of New York, the ranking Democrat on the committee. Meanwhile, the report says, "the needs of small business, with its great potential to spur economic recovery, were left unaddressed."

The report cites administration and congressional inactivity on nearly a dozen bills and proposals on a range of issues from federal contracting to worker training.

The report pushes for passage of the Small Employer Tax Relief Act, which would provide for accelerated depreciation and more favorable tax treatment for investments. The bipartisan Small Business Contract Equity Act would increase the number of contracts awarded to small businesses.

It also supports the American Small Business Emergency Relief and Recovery Act, which would offer entrepreneurs low- and no-cost loans, grants and debt forgiveness.

Those measures failed to pass during the last session of Congress, according to the report, though portions of some were included in other approved measures.

"Small business does not seem to be a priority of the Congress or the administration, based on the inability to move legislative initiatives or even programmatic initiatives," said Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.), a member of the Small Business Committee.

White House spokesman Ken Lisaius countered that the president's tax reform initiative will "lower taxes for the 17 million unincorporated small businesses that file on the personal income tax statement."

The report is being released in advance of the new legislative session in the hope of focusing more attention on the needs of small business, Velazquez said.

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