Alliance supports small business technology research and innovation
Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., chairs the Senate Committee
on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
In a letter to Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), chair and ranking member, respectively, of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, the Alliance and 10 other national organizations — including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Association — iterated their full support of the one-year extension of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program that Sen. Landrieu (D-La.) filed on May 11, 2011. This would extend the SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs until May 31, 2012. For more than three years the programs have had short and last-minute extensions.
These programs affect most of the 250,000 small businesses that Alliance represents. A one-year extension will permit Federal agencies to continue addressing their critical top scientific priorities for these programs, and will let the small companies continue conducting research without fear of funding being discontinued.
The SBIR and STTR programs are allocations of appropriated research dollars. Even with current concern about the national debt, continuing these programs as-is does not impact the budget.
In comparison to funding, these programs have yielded extraordinarily high returns to taxpayers: With only 2.5% of the federal R&D extramural budget, SBIR has provided 25% of the 100 most important innovations (as reported by R&D Magazine).
In Public Law 97-219, the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982, Congress found that, “(b) small businesses are among the most cost-effective performers of research and development and are particularly capable of developing research and development results into new products.” In 2008, the National Research Council verified this finding after conducting a study that Congress mandated. In the 30 years since the law was enacted, the percentage of scientists and engineers in small companies has grown to 38% of all U.S. employment of this sector — a sixfold increase from 6%. Today this percentage is larger than the percentage employed by large businesses, universities, or federal laboratories.
Alliance understands that Congress has a large number of high-priority issues to address in the upcoming months, and believes this extension would permit both houses of Congress to focus on these critical items without harming national R&D needs and businesses that partner with the federal government through SBIR and STTR. It would also allow the Senate and House of Representatives to work out a comprehensive bill with a long reauthorization.
Please note: the Alliance does not support or oppose the aforementioned legislation. We believe that it is important for our members to be informed about critical legislation currently being developed by Members of Congress — legislation that could impact you, your business, and your family. We realize that you may agree or disagree with the opinions and ideas presented by legislators. However, it is important that you express your opinions so your voice can be heard. If you would like to speak up about this or other pieces of legislation, contact us and vocalize your opinion.