This week, outgoing U.S. Rep. Ross Spano, R-Fla., helped get a bill reauthorizing a proposal renewing a program helping small businesses export goods through the U.S. House.
In March, with Spano as the cosponsor, U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, brought out the “STEP Improvement Act” which “aims to increase the number of small businesses that export and raise the value of existing small business exporters—thus helping increase sales volume for small businesses, which helps create businesses grow and create more jobs.”
Back in 2010, the Small Business Administration (SBA) created the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) pilot grant initiative which helped lead to more exports. Finkenauer’s bill reauthorizes STEP through 2024 and offers it $30 million in funds.
“Businesses need certainty, and the STEP Improvement Act is just one more way we can help our businesses grow,” said Spano when the bill was brought out. “It just makes sense to streamline the process for helping American small businesses compete in the international marketplace. Less red tape means more sales, which in turn means more jobs here at home. Good jobs are critical to all Americans.”
“Extending STEP gives us an opportunity to make it even more successful and address the challenges that we’ve heard from folks at all levels,” Finkenauer said. “This bill will help the program to run more effectively. Our policies need to be smart and fair for Iowa small business owners and hard-working Iowans, and we’re going to keep doing everything we can to ensure they can thrive in our communities.”
Spano stressed the important roles small businesses and exports play in the state’s economy.
“Exporting is key within Florida and has a huge impact on our state and local economy. It is estimated that more than 232,000 jobs are supported by international trade and over 56,000 small businesses export their goods and services. In 2018, Florida was the 8th largest exporter in the United States,” Spano’s office noted.
The bill cleared the Small Business Committee without opposition back in March and cleared the House on Monday on a voice vote. However, there is no counterpart over in the U.S. Senate.
Spano, who was defeated in the Republican primary last month by Lakeland City Commissioner Scott Franklin, weighed in on the bill on Monday.
“As our economy recovers, it’s critical to provide certainty and assistance to American small businesses looking to export and expand their operations,” said Spano. “The STEP Act streamlines the process for small businesses to compete internationally and eliminates burdensome red tape, creating more good jobs for Americans.”
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.