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Schwarzenegger on Small Business

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A recent post by Lloyd Chapman on this site misrepresented Governor Schwarzenegger's position on federal small business legislation while ignoring the significant actions he has taken to support small businesses in California.

As the governor's small business advocate, I just returned from the governor's second Conference on Small Business and Entrepreneurship -- where over 800 small business owners gathered to share ideas and attend breakout sessions focused on start-up strategies, using social media, learning how to sell to government and big business and more. Any insinuation that the governor's support for small businesses is inadequate is not just wrong, but insulting to the countless small businesses who have benefited from his actions.

The governor knows that small businesses are the backbone of California's economy. They make up 98 percent of the state's businesses and employ over half of California's workforce, and that's exactly why he has worked so hard to create a climate where small businesses can succeed.

From reforming California's broken workers' compensation system to reestablishing the state's commitment to awarding over 25 percent of California's nearly $9 billion in annual contracts to small businesses and disabled veterans business enterprises, and then making it easier for them to register by implementing online registration, the governor has made small businesses a priority.

In fact, he encourages a continual dialogue with small businesses and solicits their advice and feedback on where the state can help them, and then acts on it. One example is the recommendations that came out of the first governor's Conference on Small Business and Entrepreneurship in 2008. The small business owners there submitted ten policy recommendations, many of which the governor has responded to in order to make California more hospitable to small businesses. Including, launching a first-of-its-kind partnership between Caltrans and the U.S. Small Business Administration to help qualified small businesses access bond guarantees, working with the California Air Resources Board to address small business concerns regarding AB 32 and signing legislation to create a fairer and more competitive climate for small businesses to compete for state contracts.

The governor's commitment has been strong since his first day in office and is continuing into his final year. Last month, he established the governor's Office of Economic Development (GoED), a one-stop resource center designed to connect businesses with the tools and resources that will help them succeed, such as site selection assistance, state and local permit support, information on tax credits and resources, guidance through government red tape and more. An office like GoED was originally proposed in the governor's California Performance Review in 2004 and then again by the Little Hoover Commission earlier this year, another example of how the governor listens to good ideas and implements them.

The bottom line is that the governor has given small businesses an increased chance of success in this state and will continue to work to ensure that California's small businesses lead California's recovery.