March 23, 2009

Senator Gillibrand Working to Grow New York’s Rural Small Businesses

Calls for More Capital for Rural Entrepreneurs in Letter to Secretary Vilsack

Washington, D.C. - New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today called on Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to ensure more capital for small businesses and entrepreneurs in rural New York by immediately implementing the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) as part of President Obama's 2010 Budget.  RMAP allows small businesses and entrepreneurs in rural New York to apply for loans partially funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, making credit available to small businesses and entrepreneurs that cannot otherwise access credit from private sector banks and lenders.

The economic downturn has hit New York's rural areas especially hard, freezing credit for small businesses in these areas and stopping entrepreneurs from getting their businesses off the ground.  To ensure small businesses and entrepreneurs can thrive, Senator Gillibrand is working to make capital more available as part of President Obama's 2010 Budget.

"This investment will spur economic growth in rural New York communities," Senator Gillibrand said.  "Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and we cannot afford to see them fall by the wayside.  These economic engines provide jobs for more than half of New York's workforce.  We need to get capital flowing to small businesses and entrepreneurs so they can survive these difficult economic times and create good-paying jobs for New Yorkers."

"The program that Senator Gillibrand is working hard to bring to our rural communities was created in last year's Farm Bill but has not been authorized by Congress," said Lee Beaulac, senior vice president for Community and Economic Development for PathStone, a not-for-profit regional community development and human service organization providing services to farmworkers, low-income families and economically depressed communities throughout New York.  "We desperately need these types of programs, particularly now that many banks have reduced their small business lending activities."

Small businesses account for 90 percent of all rural businesses, providing jobs and economic strength in these areas.  They helped power America through our last economic recession, increasing job creation by nearly 10 percent from 2000 to 2003.  Despite that economic strength, more than 10 million small business owners had trouble getting access to credit leading up to the economic down turn.  That's why it's so important to make credit available to small businesses now, to help turn our economy around.

RMAP grants will be directed to local rural development organizations to lend to rural small businesses. To qualify for grants, economic development organizations are required to provide a 15 percent match.

Senator Gillibrand's number one priority is creating jobs for New York and getting our economy turned around.  She is a strong supporter of President Obama's economic plan, which will create or save 215,000 New York jobs and ensure long term economic growth through investments in infrastructure, renewable energy, health care technology and education.