Saturday, March 13, 2010

Firestorm against Nydia Velazquez

Small Business California notes the rising firestorm against Nydia Velázquez, current (and hopefully soon-to-be-departing) Chair of the House Small Business Committee, whose loyalties to small business seem to be ever more in question.

Rick Shindell's SBIR Insider posted notice a few days ago of Nydia's latest outrage in the form of the following statement (in her official capacity as chair of the House SBC):
Without the participation of venture-backed companies, the SBIR program has become little more than corporate welfare for marginal companies who are unable to secure external market based funding.
It's quite amazing really that she could be so (willfully) ignorant of the ways innovation and job growth have been spurred in this country for the past quarter century, and the essential role that SBIR and perhaps other similar programs have played in SEEDING innovative small businesses.

Once again, for the record, if there are any VCs out there with even the slightest interest in SEED FUNDING, stand up and be heard. No? Noone! I didn't think so.

SBIR, remade in the image of the puppet masters who control Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and her companion-in-arms Sam Graves (R-MO), the committee's ranking member, would cease to foster, support, and sustain small business innovation and job growth. Unfortunately, it's not simply their actions, but the general inaction in Washington that most threatens the economy and the prospects for innovative high-tech small businesses to play our leading role.

The offending comment was not a private offhand remark, but passed on March 4 by unanimous consent of the entire House Small Business Committee as part of the committee's Views & Estimates document sent to the Chair of the House Budget Committee. Interestingly, the document was subsequently "corrected" to reword the offending passage, softening the language that calls for exactly the same thing: dismantling of the SBIR focus on seed funding of small businesses.

Read Scott Hauge's firestorm post on Small Business California. And read Rick Shindell's background on the story I describe here, then take action to urge our elected officials to do what's right. I join Fred Patterson in his call to have Velazquez removed as chair of the House Small Business Committee. It's time. Is anyone in the leadership in Washington listening?

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