Aguilar Introduces Bill to Help Inland Empire Small Businesses Expand
Today, Rep. Pete Aguilar introduced his latest bill, H.R. 5029, the Small Business Lending Assistance Act of 2016, which eliminates fees for certain Small Business Administration (SBA) loans to firms in areas with higher unemployment rates to help small businesses access capital. Both San Bernardino and Riverside counties would benefit from this bill, allowing Inland Empire small businesses to get a much needed economic leg up.
“Since I took office last year, supporting our small businesses has been one of my main objectives,” said Rep. Aguilar. He continued, “This bill benefits Inland Empire businesses and is another step forward in getting our local economy back on track. After hosting jobs roundtables, touring local firms and convening my Small Business Advisory Board, I took the community feedback and wrote this bill so we can help our business owners access capital to grow their businesses and help create jobs.”
Dr. John Husing, Chief Economist for the Inland Empire Economic Partnership commented, “Eighty-four and a half percent of businesses in the Inland Empire have under twenty-five employees so legislation that can serve that community has very fertile ground in this region.”
The Small Business Lending Assistance Act clarifies that the SBA can use its authority to eliminate guarantee fees on all small SBA loans lasting for less than a year. It specifically orders the SBA to eliminate guarantee fees on all SBA 7(a) loans lasting less than a year in counties with an annual unemployment rate of at least one percent greater than the national unemployment average. This bill would target help to small businesses in counties like San Bernardino and Riverside counties, which had annual unemployment rates above the national average, which was 5.3 percent in 2015.
Empowering small businesses with the tools they need to grow and expand was a critical piece of Rep. Aguilar’s Jobs Plan, which he released last year. By eliminating burdensome fees, Rep. Aguilar’s latest bill will give local business owners the ability to more easily access funds to expand and grow their operations. Since taking office in January of last year, Rep. Aguilar has taken a number of steps to boost the Inland Empire economy, including four jobs bills, jobs roundtable discussions with San Bernardino County businesses, tours of local job sites, visits to vocational and workforce training programs, an organized jobs fair to directly connect local employers with job seekers and a workshop with the SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet between business owners and Inland Empire lending partners to learn about increasing access to credit and capital. The Small Business Lending Assistance Act can be read in full here.