February 24, 2010
Contact: Michael Cox (503) 986-1904
House to Small Business: Help Is on the Way
House passes bill to expand availability of capital to small businesses, while BOOST fund clears final hurdle in Senate
SALEM – The House today voted to expand the availability of capital to Oregon small businesses.  SB 1017, chief sponsored by Representative Margaret Doherty (D-Tigard), will increase loans through the Oregon Business Development Fund (OBDF) for small business projects in Oregon.  Oregon House Democrats are committed to continuing to make Oregon an attractive place to open and grow small businesses.
“Private lenders are not lending funds to small businesses, despite hundreds of billions of dollars in bailouts,” said Rep. Doherty.  “This bill temporarily expands small business access to capital where private funds are not available.”
SB 1017 will allow the OBDF to increase loan amounts, currently limited at 50 percent of a project’s cost.  The bill will also streamline the loan process by increasing the amount of a loan the OBDF Director can approve from $125,000 to $250,000.
“Small businesses are having a really hard time accessing the capital they need to grow their businesses in this tough economy,” said Rep. Doherty.  “This bill will increase access to funds for the small businesses that are the backbone of our economy and the engine of our recovery.”
Nearly 60 percent of Oregon Business Development Fund loans are made in rural areas of Oregon, giving help to small businesses who need capital to expand and grow and helping create jobs. The Oregon Entrepreneurial Development Loan Fund helps smalls businesses get off the ground by providing start-up funds and has been one of the most successful tools the state has in targeting loans to women, with over 36 percent of the existing loans being made to women-owned businesses across the state.
Senator Suzanne Bonamici (D-Washington County/Portland) championed the bill in the Senate.  Rep. Doherty and Sen. Bonamici have worked closely together on the issue.
A companion bill, HB 3698, which creates the BOOST Fund to increase the availability of working capital to Oregon small businesses that create jobs and hire Oregonians to fill them, passed the Senate earlier today.
Both SB 1017 and HB 3698 now move to the governor’s desk for his signature.
House to Small Business: Help Is on the Way