H. R. 2499
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
May 24, 2007
Mr. Cuellar (for himself, Mr. Reyes, Mr. Grijalva, Mr. Gonzalez, Ms. Clarke, Mr. Hinojosa, Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Ortiz, Mr. Farr, Mr. Thompson of California, Mr. Rodriguez, and Mr. Brady of Texas) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Small Business
To amend the Small Business Act to expand and improve the assistance provided by Small Business Development Centers to Colonias.
This Act may be cited as the
SBDC Colonias Outreach Act of
Findings and purposes
The Congress finds the following:
Colonias are found in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California and are composed of families with very low incomes and usually lack basic services such as clean and abundant water, roads, sewer systems, schools, and law enforcement.
Across the Southwest there are approximately 3,000 Colonias with nearly three quarters of a million people living in these communities.
Improving the living situation within Colonias is not limited to fixing basic infrastructure but must also include spurring economic growth.
Studies have found that the unemployment rate in Colonias was upwards of 60 percent.
The average yearly salary of people living in these communities is less than $10,000, well below the Nation’s poverty line.
Many Colonias residents cannot find year-round work due to the seasonal nature of their primary occupations—fieldwork represents 29.5 percent of their jobs, construction work 24.4 percent, and factory work, 14.9 percent.
The Small Business Development Center program has been proven to be a cost effective solution to providing the resources and technical assistance needed to grow existing businesses and to start new enterprises.
Business counseling and technical assistance is critical in Colonias where similar services are in short supply and are costly.
The purposes of this Act are the following:
To stimulate economic development in Colonias.
To assist in the creation of new small businesses located in Colonias and expand existing ones.
To provide management, technical, and research assistance to entrepreneurs located in Colonias.
To ensure that residents of Colonias have full access to existing business counseling and technical assistance available through the Small Business Development Center program.
Small Business Development Center assistance to Colonias
Section 21(a) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 648(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
Additional grant to assist individuals residing in Colonias
Any applicant in an eligible State that is funded by the Administration as a Small Business Development Center may apply for an additional grant to be used solely to provide services described in subsection (c)(3) to assist with outreach, development, and enhancement of small business startups and expansions within Colonias.
For purposes of subparagraph (A), an eligible State is a State along the United States-Mexico border that has individuals residing in Colonias.
An applicant for a grant under subparagraph (A) shall submit to the Administration an application that is in such form as the Administration may require. The application shall include information regarding the applicant's goals and objectives for the services to be provided using the grant, including—
the capability of the applicant to provide training and services to individuals residing in Colonias;
the location of the Small Business Development Center site proposed by the applicant; and
the required amount of grant funding needed by the applicant to implement the program.
Applicability of grant requirements
An applicant for a grant under subparagraph (A) shall comply with all of the requirements of this section, except that the matching funds requirements under paragraph (4)(A) shall not apply.
Maximum amount of grants
No applicant may receive more than $300,000 in grants under this paragraph for one fiscal year.
After providing notice and an opportunity for comment and after consulting with the Association recognized by the Administration pursuant to paragraph (3)(A) (but not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this paragraph), the Administration shall issue final regulations to carry out this paragraph, including regulations that establish—
standards relating to educational, technical, and support services to be provided by Small Business Development Centers receiving assistance under this paragraph; and
standards relating to any work plan that the Administration may require a Small Business Development Center receiving assistance under this paragraph to develop.
In this paragraph:
The term Colonias means a community that—
is located within 150 miles of the United States-Mexico border;
is a city or town with a population of less than 10,000, according to the latest United States Census, or is unincorporated;
has a majority population composed of individuals and families of low and very low income; and
generally lacks a basic physical infrastructure.
The term basic physical infrastructure means safe, sanitary, and sound housing, as well as basic services such as potable water, adequate sewage systems, drainage, paved streets and utilities.
Authorization of appropriations
There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this paragraph $7,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2008 through 2010.
Nonapplicability of certain limitations
Funding under this paragraph shall be in addition to the dollar program limitations specified in paragraph (4).
Limitation on use of funds
The Administration may carry out this paragraph only with amounts appropriated in advance specifically to carry out this paragraph.