Levin has always been a strong advocate for the interests of small
businesses in Michigan. A senior member of the Senate Small Business Committee, Levin
understands that small business is the heart of America's economic
strength and job creation.
Small business is important to Michigan. In
1997, 98.5 percent of Michigan businesses were small businesses.
Women-owned businesses are the fastest growing sector of small businesses
in America and provide innumerable jobs and resources to the state of
Michigan. Understanding the contribution of women-owned small businesses
to economic growth and job expansion, Senator Levin helped win Senate
passage of the Women's
Business Centers Sustainability Act on Nov. 4, 1999, and the President
signed this measure into law on Dec. 9, 1999 (Public Law 106-165). This
law aims to strengthen the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Women's
Business Centers in Michigan and across the nation which help
entrepreneurs start and maintain successful businesses by providing such
things as start-up help and financial expertise to women-owned businesses.
Because small businesses often have more
difficulty gaining access to credit, Senator Levin has worked to increase
the amount of SBA government-guaranteed loans that are made to small
businesses, providing credit to those businesses that otherwise would not
qualify for conventional bank loans.
Senator Levin has supported legislation that
more than doubled the annual expensing allowances for small businesses.
The Small Business Job Protection Act, enacted in the summer of 1996, will
gradually increase the annual expensing allowance for businesses from
$10,000 to $25,000 in 2003 and thereafter.
In his continued effort to achieve "good
government" standards and accountability, Senator Levin won enactment of a
landmark law requiring federal agencies to get competitive bids when
buying goods or services, opening up the procurement process to new
companies and saving taxpayers $40 to $50 billion over 10 years.
Senator Levin recognizes the important
contribution made by small technology companies in innovative research and
development breakthroughs. As a senior member of the Senate Small Business
Committee, he worked to give these companies the ability to compete for a
share of Federal government research and development. He helped win
reauthorization and expansion of the Small Business Innovation Research
(SBIR) program, a billion-dollar effort to use small high-tech businesses
to provide research and development to the government and to commercialize
federal technologies. He helped lead the effort in the Senate to
reauthorize the program in 2000. That reauthorization included a bill
introduced by Senator Levin to increase the number of small businesses
that can benefit from the SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer
(SBTT) programs by instituting a volunteer mentoring program for small
business owners who may not otherwise have access to the programs.
Senator Levin also worked to assist
businesses to become Y2K compliant by cosponsoring a bill that has passed
both houses of Congress establishing a special government-guaranteed loan
program to guarantee loans made by private lenders to small businesses to
make their own Y2K repairs or provide relief from economic injuries
sustained as a result of Y2K problems. This program offers loans at more
favorable terms than other government-guaranteed loans available to small
businesses and it allows small businesses to defer interest for the first
year. The bill's report language includes a Levin provision allowing the
favorable terms of this lending program to be applied to loans already
granted to small businesses that were used primarily for Y2K repairs but
under less favorable terms than offered under this program.
Senator Levin worked to enact legislation to
reduce the economic hardship created by the absence of active duty
reservists from their jobs and businesses and to give Veterans access to
the tools that will allow them to successfully open and expand small
Senator Levin supported the Veterans'
Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999, which became
law on Aug. 17, 1999 (Public Law 106-50). It is intended to help promote
business endeavors of service-disabled veterans and veterans in general
by: establishing an office of Veterans Business Development within SBA;
creating the National Veterans Business Development Corporation to form
and expand small businesses; creating an Advisory Committee on Veterans
Business Affairs; and providing economic relief to military reservists by
including S.918 of which Senator Levin was an original cosponsor. Senator
Levin is pleased the House and Senate acted quickly to pass this important
legislation so that disabled veterans will have access to a wide range of
programs that will assist them in successfully running small businesses,
including gaining access to federal procurement contracts.
This legislation will also help military
reservists who are called away from their jobs and businesses to serve the
United States in any military operation with respect to Kosovo by allowing
them to defer existing government guaranteed small business loans and
giving them access to low interest rate government-guaranteed loans to
bridge any financial gap that might arise out of their absence. It
includes Senator Levin's suggestion that the benefits will apply to all
qualified reservist who are demobilized as of March 24, 1999, not just
those called up for Kosovo, as was originally drafted.
Visit the Senate's Small Business Committee website