DATE: December 3, 2004

SUBJECT: Small Business Administration; Small Business Size Standards Issues

SOURCE: Federal Register, December 3, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 232, page 70197

AGENCIES: Small Business Administration (SBA)

ACTION: Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM)

SYNOPSIS: The SBA is seeking comments on several issues that were raised by comments on the recently withdrawn proposal to restructure the small business size standards. The issues discussed in this ANPRM address matters pertaining to SBA's size standards but were not part of the proposed changes.

EDITOR'S NOTE: For more on the proposed rule to restructure the small business size standards, see the March 19, 2004, FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH "Small Business Administration (SBA); Restructuring of Small Business Size Standards."

For more on the withdrawal of the March 19, 2004, proposed rule, see the July 1, 2004, FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH "Small Business Administration (SBA); Withdrawal of Proposed Small Business Size Standards Restructuring."

The SBA's regulations are in Title 13 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The SBA small business size regulations are in Chapter 1, Small Business Administration; Part 121, Small Business Size Regulations.

A complete listing of current size standards is available at SBA's Size Standards website at http://www.sba.gov/size/sizetable2002.html, or by calling 202-205-6618 and requesting a copy of the table of size standards.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before February 1, 2005.

ADDRESSES: Respondents may submit comments directly on the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov; by e-mail to: restructure.sizestandandards@sba.gov; by fax to 202-205-6930; by mail or hand-delivery/courier to Gary M. Jackson, Assistant Administrator for Size Standards, 409 Third Street, SW, Washington, DC 20416. Cite "RIN 3245-ZA02" when making comments in reponse to this ANPRM.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: SBA's Office of Size Standards, 202-205-6618, or by e-mail to sizestandards@sba.gov.

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: SBA has 37 different small business size standards for 1,151 industries, 13 sub-industries, and 11 special financial and procurement programs. The number of size standards has grown over the years because of the expansion and development of new SBA programs, the increasing size and complexity of the U.S. economy, and demands from small businesses to address unique situations.

On March 19, 2004, SBA published a proposed rule to restructure the small business size standards by basing them primarily on the number of employees of a business concern (as opposed to average annual receipts) and by limiting the number of different size standard levels to ten. SBA believed this would simplify the existing structure of size standards and enable the public to better understand and use them.

SBA received more than 4,500 comments on the proposed changes. Because of the concerns expressed by a large number of comments, SBA withdrew the proposal on July 1, 2004. SBA is continuing its review of the comments and, when completed, will decide what, if any, further actions are necessary.

This ANPRM seeks comments on several issues that were raised in comments on the March 19, 2004, proposed rule but were not part of the changes that were being proposed. SBA is giving the public an opportunity to comment on these issues before deciding on the next course of action.

SBA is planning other actions on size standards in addition to this ANPRM:

  1. SBA plans to hold a series of public meetings on size standards that will focus on the issues raised in this ANPRM.

  2. SBA is examining a number of specific size standards as separate rulemaking actions, such as the nonmanufacturer size standard of 500 employees regardless of the actual size standard for the particular industry.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Panoptic Enterprises at 703-451-5953.

Copyright 2004 by Panoptic Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.

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