May 05, 2017

For Small Business Week, Udall Introduces Bill to Increase Federal Contracts for Small Businesses, Prioritize Veteran- and Women-Owned Businesses

WASHINGTON – In honor of National Small Business Week, U.S. Senator Tom Udall recognized the over 150,000 small business owners in New Mexico and introduced legislation to increase the number of small businesses that are granted federal contracts. Small businesses keep New Mexico's economy running and create jobs, making up 99 percent of the state's businesses and 56 percent of employees in New Mexico.

Udall's bill, the Assuring Contracting Equity (ACE) Act of 2017 takes several steps to raise the Small Business Administration (SBA) contracting goals and increase transparency in the process by:
-Raising the SBA's government-wide small business contracting level to 25 percent (from 23 percent).
-Increasing the contracting goal to 10 percent (from 5 percent) for businesses owned by veterans, women and economically disadvantaged individuals.
-Making the reporting requirements more transparent and prohibiting reporting practices that artificially inflate the appearance of contracting to minority-owned businesses.
-And requiring the SBA to disclose the percentage of contracts that are awarded to small business from all federal contracting dollars and consider past subcontracting compliance in award decisions.

"Small businesses in New Mexico are the engine that drives our state's economy, and I'm proud to join them, and the thousands of entrepreneurs who create jobs and keep our communities strong, in celebrating National Small Business Week and introducing this legislation," Udall said. "Winning a federal government contract can provide small business greater opportunities for growth. This legislation gives these businesses — especially those owned by women and veterans — a better shot at tapping into federal awards. Small businesses grow our economy, and we should do everything we can to help them grow their businesses."

“Senator Udall is a small business champion who works tirelessly for the small business community," said Kirk McWethy, President of SDV Construction, a service-disabled veteran-owned small business based in Albuquerque. "The ACE Act will grow a broader, more diverse pool of small businesses by providing greater transparency in the federal procurement process, translating into expanded opportunities for employers and employees. Thank you Senator Udall for everything you do to support small businesses and our families.”

"We are encouraged by the introduction of the ACE Act as it will assist small businesses, especially those owned by veterans, women, and those who have experienced economic hardships, the opportunity to compete for federal contracts. This could be the opportunity that many small businesses need, especially in an increasingly challenging economic climate," said Carrie Hamblen, President and CEO of the Las Cruces Green Chamber. "Running a small business is hard and every bit of support at the federal, state, and local level is welcome."

The ACE Act is endorsed by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Women Construction Owners and Executives, the National Association of Minority Contractors, and the National Association of Women Business Owners.

Udall has long championed measures to support new and existing small businesses in New Mexico, including:

- The Small Business Investment Promotion Act to make permanent a tax deduction of $250,000 for the purchase of machinery, software and property investments so businesses can buy the equipment they need to grow jobs and increase profits.
- The Help Our Middle Class Entrepreneurs (HOME) Act to reduce the paperwork burden on small business owners who work out of their homes by making permanent an optional standard deduction of $1,500, replacing the current complicated process for claiming the home office deduction.
- The Expanding Opportunities for Main Street Act to raise the cap to $500,000 on the value of small business contracts, giving small businesses preference in contracting and increasing the government-wide small business contracting goals.
- The Incentivize Growth Now In Tomorrow's Entrepreneurs (IGNITE) Act to help ease the challenge many entrepreneurs face accessing credit to pay the start-up costs associated with creating a small business by allowing them to create tax-free savings accounts for start-up expenses.