Report by Paula Antolini
March 1,2017 9:10AM EDT
Sen. Boucher, Small Business Owner Urge Passage of Bill Helping Small Business
February 28, 2017
State Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) was joined in Hartford Monday by a small business owner testifying on behalf of the senator’s bill to increase the maximum annual revenue a business can generate and still qualify as a small contractor. The legislature’s Government Administrations and Elections Committee conducted a public hearing on the bill.
Lucia Furman is the owner of a family business, Mercantile Development, which employs fewer than 50 people and operates a single manufacturing facility. While most people would agree that Mercantile is a small business, because it generates more than $15 million in gross revenues, the State of Connecticut says it no longer qualifies as a small business. This criterion cuts companies off from doing business with state agencies through the set-aside program for small contractors.
“To be clear, a manufacturer with $15 million in gross sales, working on competitive margins, and burdened with the high operating costs associated with doing business in Connecticut may not have enough in the bank at the end of the year to reinvest in the business,” Furman said. “For ‘set-aside’ contracting opportunities with the state, our legislature places this type of small business on the same playing field as a billion-dollar Chinese corporation.”
Sen. Boucher said her proposed bill, SB 636, An Act Expanding Eligibility Under The Set-Aside Program For Small Contractors, would increase to $20 million dollars the revenue threshold for companies to be eligible for the set-aside program. An added benefit is that the bill would help minority-owned as well, because in order to be called minority-owned by the state, it must also meet the small business definition.
“We need to do all that we can to make Connecticut a welcoming place for small business owners like Ms. Furman,” Sen. Boucher said. “Small manufacturing businesses like hers are the backbone of our economy and must be supported. This is a small step in the right direction.”
Furman said small businesses in the state are drowning in regulations and mandates that get piled on top of already onerous federal regulations. Radio spots declaring Connecticut “Open for Business” are disingenuous, she said.
“We need laws that support local business and that are designed to help manufacturers thrive,” Furman said. “I implore the legislature to support Connecticut’s small businesses through expansion of eligibility under the set-aside program for small contractors by substantially increasing, or eliminating, the arbitrary and punitive revenue cap.”
Sen. Boucher said that passing legislation promoting business success is the key to reviving the state’s economy and she will work to make Connecticut a place where small businesses can thrive.
Sen. Boucher represents the communities of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.