May 20, 2011

Small Business Week

This week is Small Business Week — a time to recognize the contributions that our small businesses make as the backbone of our economy.

Really, every week is Small Business Week. In New Mexico they provide 55 percent of our private sector jobs. And particularly during a time of economic recovery, helping our small businesses to weather the economic downturn has been a top priority of mine.

Over the past few months, I've traveled across New Mexico, speaking with small business owners about the challenges they face. In just the past month, my Small Business and Economic Development Tour has taken me through 14 counties, hosting 10 small business and economic development roundtables, with stops in towns from Clovis to Ruidoso to Fort Sumner to Rio Rancho.

Click here to see Facebook photos from my stops along the way.

Federal programs play an important role in helping entrepreneurs around New Mexico. Small Business Development Centers and small business incubators across our state offer an important helping hand during difficult economic times.

And last year Congress passed the Small Business Jobs Act, which made over $12 billion in tax cuts available for small businesses. And through the recently passed health care reform bill, more than 5,500 small businesses in New Mexico are eligible for tax credits.

But there's still much that needs to be done.

In Albuquerque, I heard from a veteran-owned business that makes products for companies like Northrup Grumman and Boeing. The owner, a woman named Ioana Engstrom, has been working very hard to try to expand her business. But because of a lack of lending and despite her good credit and excellent growth trajectory, she is unable to expand and hire more people.

This problem is all too common among our small businesses and highlights exactly why it's so critical that Congress stay focused on creating jobs.

In the meantime, the economy is slowly improving. We added more than two million private sector jobs in the last 14 months. But Iona Engstrom and entrepreneurs around the state just like her are still fighting every day to weather the storm.

That's why I will continue pushing for more support from Washington and I hope you'll continue to stay in touch about the challenges our small businesses face across the state.