June 15, 2009, 12:00 AM

Small business stimulus plan `goes nowhere` in Washington

A stimulus plan proposed by PrintingForLess.com president Andrew Field and submitted to Congress failed to make it out of the proposal stage.

Mark Brohan

Research Director

Topics: Max Baucus, Montana

When Andrew Field, president of PrintingForLess.com, in January proposed a stimulus plan for small businesses, Forbes.com featured it on its homepage. Field sent the proposal to U.S. Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, who referred it to staffers on the finance committee and the Congressional Budget Office. A copy was even sent to the White House.

But six months later, Field`s proposal has met the fate of so many others before it. "Essentially it went nowhere," Field says. Field submitted the plan as one way small companies, including web retailers, could secure badly needed operating funds during the current recession and credit crunch.

Under Field`s proposed stimulus plan, the government would make $20,000 loans to small businesses for each full-time employee. The logic: the government is borrowing 10-year money at about 2.5%. The government would make it available to small businesses at 5%, with interest-only payments for the first five years and an expectation of complete repayment over the following five years.

"I thought I put together a reasonable idea and the feedback that I got from businesses small and large all over the country and lots of people was, `Hey, this is a good idea,`" Field says. "But Washington is about politics, not about good ideas."

The small business stimulus proposal got hung up in the scoring process in which the costs of proposals must be estimated before being submitted as legislation, Field says.

"The problem is they couldn`t score it because they didn`t know how much demand there would be for it because they`d never done anything like this before," he says. "I said, `Are you telling me that because you`ve never done anything like this, you can`t do anything like this?` They said, `That`s the way it works back here.` And small businesses are still suffering."

Field says he won`t attempt to revive the effort. "I gave it a try, but I`m not exactly a crusader," he says. "I`m going back to being a citizen. I`m just going back to focusing on work and serving my customers."

PrintingForLess.com is No. 310 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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