ABA President & CEO Meet With SBA Head

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This week, ABA President Michael Tucker, of Books Inc. in San Francisco, and ABA CEO Oren Teicher traveled to Washington, D.C., for a meeting with Karen Gordon Mills, head of the Small Business Administration, to discuss issues of importance to independent booksellers. Joining them at the meeting was SBA Chief of Staff Ana M. Ma.

"Our meeting with Administrator Mills was both productive and informative," said Teicher. "We discussed a number of SBA programs and initiatives that are of concern to our member booksellers. We stressed to Ms. Mills the importance of locally owned businesses to the lifeblood of their communities, and that small businesses like independent bookstores are the foundation of a healthy and vibrant economy. She acknowledged an understanding of the importance of small business to their communities."

Two key topics of the discussion were access to capital and small business tax credits in the new health insurance reform law.

During the meeting, SBA asked ABA if it could reach out to bookstore members for their help in critiquing a questionnaire related to Small Business Health Care Tax Credits for clarity and ease-of-use. The intent of the three-step form is to make it easy for a small business or tax exempt organization to determine if it qualifies for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit under the new health insurance reform law. To assist SBA, ABA will circulate a link to the questionnaire to ABA membership and ask them to offer their feedback. ABA bookstores should be on the lookout for an e-mail about the form.

Regarding access to capital, Mills noted SBA's efforts to streamline the loan process to make it more efficient and timely, and she encouraged any booksellers having an issue with access to SBA-backed loans to communicate any difficulties directly to SBA.

While in D.C., Tucker and Teicher also met with Neal Osten, director of the Washington office of the National Conference of State Legislators, and David Quam, director of the Office of Federal Relations of the National Governors Association, to discuss issues regarding sales tax fairness. --David Grogan