As has been their practice for many years, the National Small Business Association (NSBA) issued their top ten priorities to the U.S. Congress, at the beginning of a new legislative session. NSBA members gather at their own ‘Small Business Congress’ every two years to discuss issues of vital concern to their membership and publish the resulting agenda of their wish list for the next two years.
Celebrating its 78th anniversary in 2015, NSBA continues to advocate on behalf of America’s entrepreneurs. A staunchly nonpartisan organization, NSBA’s 65,000 members represent every state and every U.S. industry and lay claim to be the nation’s first small-business advocacy organization.
This year, their top ten priority list includes the following issues:
1) Corporate Tax Reform and Small Business;
2) Improve Access to Credit and Capital;
3) Deficit Reduction & Entitlement Reform;
4) Rein-in the Costs of Health Care;
5) Capital Gains and Dividends;
6) Tax Extender Permanency;
7) Export-Import Bank Reauthorization;
8) National Regulatory Budget;
9) Immigration Reform;
10) Strengthen The SBA Office of Advocacy;
Much of this list seems intended to be fraternal in nature, that aligns the association with other conservative interests in Congress, while not drawing indelible lines around sensitive issues that could be retreated from easily, such as with immigration, tax reform and health care costs.
Their their priority list largely mirrors most other business advocacy groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable, but it’s interesting to note how many items on their agenda–particularly in the area of capital access–runs directly counter to some recent public statements and actions in the House Small Business Committee (HSBC).
What concerns do commercial lenders have?
Like most of the House of Representatives, this committee has increasingly veered into extreme right-winged territory since 2011, and like many other House committees, has become seemingly hostile to many business interests, unlike the traditional position of the majority Republican Party. These changes are probably best illustrated in the area of capital access, in light of the insurgent Tea Party wing’s hostility to the banking bailouts during the financial crisis and subsequent economic stimulus efforts of the federal government.
NSBA’s priority list expressed a full-throated support for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s recent initiatives to improve small business access to financing loans less than $150,000. Specifically, they mentioned the agency’s recent renewal of the guarantee fee waiver on small loans for the second consecutive year.
NSBA also gives credit to SBA for trying to simplify the loan process–possibly in reference to SBA’s outreach efforts and new technology lender search tools–and for endorsing SBA’s efforts to open more business lending authority at the nation’s credit unions. The HSBC has been especially critical of the former.
For its part, the HSBC has spent most of the past two years grumbling about SBA’s every move. New chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) and the ranking minority member, Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), have wasted no time to renew their criticism of the agency in the new Congress, for acting on big ideas without Congressional mandates.
In addition, NSBA is pressing for Congressional and executive pressure on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to act on crowdfunding provisions, so to ease the rules of raising equity among small investors, and has offered a strong endorsement of renewing the Export-Import Bank charter before expiration in June. That latter position is counter to a full war many HSBC and Tea Party members are waging to shutdown the Ex-Im Bank.
It remains to be seen what lies ahead, but I predict another frustrating year ahead of arguing what’s really best to promote small companies.
Read more at NSBA.