29
Apr
2010

President Obama Issues Executive Order Creating VOB Task Force

  

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President Barack Obama signed an executive order Monday instructing the U.S. Small Business Administration to establish an Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development. Obama said he is committed to ensuring that small businesses, including those owned by service-disabled veterans, have fair access to federal government contracting. "Indeed, where small businesses have the capacity to do more, we should strive to exceed the statutory goals," Obama said.

 

Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), Ranking Member on the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship proposed the task force January 31, 2007, at a committee hearing. In February 2008, then President George W. Bush signed the Military Reservist and Veteran Small Business Reauthorization and Opportunity Act (P.L. 110-186) into law which contained the language to establish the task force, which should have happened nearly two years ago. 

"It is imperative that the Administration utilize this task force in a robust manner to truly improve the conditions that promote veteran entrepreneurship, particularly regarding access to capital and Federal contracting opportunities, and I will be providing stringent oversight of this panel," Snowe said.

 

According to the order, the Task Force shall:

(a) consult regularly with veterans service and military organizations in performing the duties of the Task Force; (b) coordinate administrative and regulatory activities and develop proposals relating to: (i) improving capital access and capacity of small business concerns owned and controlled by veterans and service-disabled veterans through loans, surety bonding, and franchising;  (ii) ensuring achievement of the pre-established federal contracting goals for small business concerns, to name a few.

 

To read the memorandum issued by the White House, click here. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Posted by Matthew Pavelek at 04/29/2010 04:59 PM
22
Apr
2010

NM Dept. of Veterans’ Services Awarded $150K SBA Grant

 

One of Only 12 States to Successfully Apply for Grant Which Could Reach $750K

The New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services (NMDVS) has been notified that its Veterans’ Business Resource Center (VBRC) is one of only 12 winning applicants of a $150,000 grant by the Veterans’ Business Outreach Program of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

This is the result of the VBRC being officially designated by the SBA as a Veterans’ Business Outreach Center—another result of the grant application process to secure the first-year $150,000 funding and possible four yearly option extensions. The grant will result in the doubling of what the NMDVS currently budgets for veterans’ business development. According to the NMDVS, one out of every seven of the New Mexico’s 22,000 small businesses is veteran-owned.

“I can’t begin to tell you how extremely excited we are about this news,” said New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services (NMDVS) Cabinet Secretary John M. Garcia, who is also a member of the nine-person national SBA Veterans’ Business Advisory Board and a past president of the National Association of State Departments of Veterans’ Affairs.  “This grant will greatly help us expand our commitment to help veterans who want to start a small business or expand their existing operations. And given the current poor state of the global economy, the timing couldn’t be better.”

“We believe in helping to create prosperity for veterans and their families,” said NMDVS Secretary Garcia. “This not only helps them--it also helps the rest of the community through the goods and services created by these veteran-owned businesses. It’s a ‘Win-Win’ situation for everyone, and this grant will only help us to better achieve this goal.”

  

 


Posted by Matthew Pavelek at 04/22/2010 04:51 PM
21
Apr
2010

Lawmakers Press IRS to Simplify Procedures for Small Businesses

 

As millions of American small business owners recently filed their taxes, lawmakers pressed the nation's top tax man about what the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is doing to simplify compliance for small firms struggling with economic recovery. In testimony before the House Committee on Small Business, IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman detailed outreach and education efforts designed to assist small business taxpayers. Members of the Committee said the agency should take additional steps to help small enterprises take advantage of recently enacted tax benefits.

 

"Helping entrepreneurs grow and create jobs has been a top priority for this Congress," said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), the Chairwoman of the House Committee on Small Business. "The IRS has an important role to play in ensuring entrepreneurs can tap into the Recovery Act and HIRE Act's tax breaks, while also reducing the costs of complying with the tax code."

 

During the hearing, lawmakers noted that, due to the Recovery Act, the IRS has sent out a record $175 billion in refunds with more expected to follow. The HIRE Act, which the President signed into law last month, provides additional relief with a job creation tax credit and Social Security payroll tax holiday for new hires. While these gains are important, lawmakers said the agency should be doing more to help entrepreneurs file accurate returns.

 

"Small businesses have to spend a disproportionate amount of time, money and manpower just to follow the law," Velázquez said. "The IRS needs to start taking steps that simplify the process, so these resources can go toward expanding businesses and hiring workers, rather than navigating the tax code."

 

Many small firms have complained that filing taxes requires filling out numerous, time-consuming forms. According to one study, small firms with less than $10 billion in revenues spent more than 1.7 billion hours on tax compliance, incurring out-of-pocket expenses of between $15 billion and $16 billion. Members of the Committee noted that making tax filing less complex would encourage compliance, while reducing costs for taxpayers.

 

"Making it easier to file taxes is a win-win," Velázquez said. "It encourages compliance, resulting in more revenue while also making it less costly for businesses to follow the law."

 

At the conclusion of the hearing, Velázquez said the Committee will continue to examine ways to improve the tax code and reduce its complexity for small businesses.

 

Video of the hearing can be downloaded by clicking here.




Posted by Matthew Pavelek at 04/21/2010 11:56 AM
15
Apr
2010

Army Sued For Refusing to Release Contracting Data

 

Petaluma, Calif. - On Wednesday, April 14, the American Small Business League (ASBL) filed suit against the U.S. Department of the Army under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  The suit was filed in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. The Army is refusing to release information regarding the compliance of its prime contractors with small business subcontracting goals.

(http://www.asbl.com/documents/20100414_complaint_mantech.pdf) 

 

The ASBL originally requested the most recent quarterly subcontracting reports for contracts awarded by the Army to ManTech Telecommunications.

Prime contractors are required to produce subcontracting reports for each contract awarded by the federal government.

 

The ASBL maintains that the Pentagon's refusal to release information regarding prime contractor compliance with small business subcontracting goals is a further indication that the Pentagon is falsifying compliance with its small business contracting goals.

 

The Small Business Act requires that a minimum of 23 percent of the total value of all government contracts go to small businesses. The most recent information available indicates that the Obama Administration is diverting billions of dollars a month in government small business contracts to Fortune 500 firms like: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Dell Computer, British Aerospace (BAE), Rolls-Royce, French giant Thales Communications, Ssangyong Corporation headquartered in South Korea, and the Italian firm Finmeccanica SpA.

(http://www.asbl.com/documents/20090825TopSmallBusinessContractors2008.pdf)

 

 

The ASBL maintains that the Pentagon's refusal to release this information is a clear indication that it has something to hide.

 

"The Obama Administration is withholding these subcontracting reports because it knows that these reports will show the federal government and prime contractors are falsifying their small business contracting numbers,"

ASBL President Lloyd Chapman said.

 

Despite promises of increased transparency, the Obama Administration is refusing to release a wide range of data on small business contracting programs such as: agency phone records, the actual names of the recipients of federal small business contracts, the specific names of federal contracting officials that have awarded small business contracts to Fortune 500 firms, the names of specific individuals at Fortune 500 firms that have misrepresented their firms status as a small business, and SBA bonus recipients.

 

Wednesday's action is the third lawsuit filed by the ASBL since late March.

The ASBL's efforts to expose fraud and abuse in federal small business contracting programs have recently been chronicled by articles in the Washington Post, HispanicBusiness Magazine and Andrew Beitbart's BigGovernment.com.

(http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/11/AR201004110


Posted by Matthew Pavelek at 04/15/2010 03:06 PM
15
Apr
2010

The Ultimate Sacrifice

 

Spc. Ross A. McGinnis, U.S. Army, gave his life to save his buddies. 

How many times have you heard people use the cliche “he jumped on that grenade” to describe something  remotely selfless? Sadly, the ubiquity of that phrase diminishes the profound significance of someone who is truly willing to jump on a grenade to save the lives of others. Spc. Ross A. McGinnis, U.S. Army, was such a man. 

Only four American service members have been awarded the Medal of Honor for actions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. This month we honor one of those men, Ross A. McGinnis. Ever since he was a boy, McGinnis wanted to be a soldier. He joined the Army on June 14, 2004 – his 17th birthday – through the delayed entry program. 

In August 2006, the 19-year-old McGinnis deployed to Baghdad with the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment. He manned a Humvee-mounted .50 caliber machine gun during operations against insurgents in Adhamiyah. On Dec. 4, 2006, McGinnis decided to save the lives of his fellow soldiers and sacrifice his own. 

According to the official citation, “McGinnis distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty.” His platoon was conducting combat control operations to reduce and control sectarian violence in the area. An insurgent threw a fragmentation grenade into the gunner’s hatch. 

McGinnis shouted “grenade,” alerting the four members of his crew to prepare for the blast. But, instead of jumping out of the vehicle and saving himself, he “made the courageous decision to protect his crew.” McGinnis was mortally wounded when he covered the grenade with his body to absorb the explosion.

McGinnis’ selfless bravery directly saved the lives of the other four men. The citation concludes by stating “McGinnis’ extraordinary heroism and selflessness at the cost of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.”

To watch a video documentary about Rocc McGinnis, visit www.navoba.com/mcginnis.


Posted by Matthew Pavelek at 04/15/2010 11:35 AM

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