DATE: May 12, 2005

SUBJECT: Small Business Administration; Hearings on Small Business Size Standards

SOURCE: Federal Register, May 12, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 91, page 25133

AGENCIES: Small Business Administration (SBA)

ACTION: Notice

SYNOPSIS: The SBA announces that it will be holding a series of public hearings throughout the country on the topic of small business size standards and other issues such as the possible participation of businesses majority-owned by venture capital companies in the Small Business Innovation Research Program.

EDITOR'S NOTE: For more on the small business size standards proposed rule that was withdrawn, see the March 19, 2004, FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH "Small Business Administration (SBA); Restructuring of Small Business Size Standards."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

For more on SBA’s request for comments on several issues that were raised by comments on the small business size standards proposed rule, see the December 3, 2004, FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCHSmall Business Administration; Small Business Size Standards Issues.”

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.

ADDRESSES: Those interested in testifying at or attending a public hearing must pre-register by submitting a request to SBA's Office of Size Standards by e-mail at Hearings.sizestandards@sba.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gary M. Jackson, Assistant Administrator for Size Standards, 202-205-6618, or by e-mail at sizestandards@sba.gov.

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: On March 19, 2004, SBA published a proposed rule to restructure its small business size standards. The proposed rule would have simplified the size standards by establishing "number of employees" as the basis for determining size, and deleting "average annual receipts" as the basis for determining size, primarily in service industries. In this proposed rule, SBA would have reduced the number of individual size standard levels from 37 to 10.

SBA received over 4,500 comments on the proposed changes. Although many of those comments supported aspects of the proposal, a number raised concerns about SBA's methodology for developing the proposed size standards, the effect the proposed size standards would have on existing small businesses, the determination of the employee size of a business, and SBA's proposed overall approach to simplifying the size standards. On July 1, 2004, SBA withdrew the proposed rule because it believed "further review of these issues may result in substantive changes from the proposal."

To obtain comments from the public on small business issues that were raised in the comments on the withdrawn small business size standards proposed rule but were not part of the withdrawn rule, SBA published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on December 3, 2004, and requested comments on the following related issues: (1) approaches to simplify size standards; (2) the calculation of the number of employees (including how SBA defines an employee for size purposes); (3) the use of receipts-based size standards; (4) the designation of size standards for federal procurements; (5) the establishment of separate and distinct size standards for use solely in federal procurement programs; (6) the establishment of tiered size standards; (7) the simplification of the affiliation regulations; (8) the simplification of the small business joint venture eligibility regulations; (9) the possible grandfathering of small business eligibility; (10) the effect of SBA size standards on the regulations of other federal agencies and (11) the possible participation of businesses majority-owned by venture capital companies in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and the effect such participation would have on the SBIR program. The ANPRM comment period closed on April 3, 2005.

Because of the significance of the size standards initiative and importance of the other issues being considered, SBA has decided to conduct a series of 11 public hearings around the country to provide interested parties with an opportunity to meet with SBA officials and discuss their views on these issues. The following is the hearing schedule:

Hearing Date
Registration Closing Date
Seattle, WASBA, 1200 6th Ave., Suite 1700, Seattle, WA 98101June 2, 2005     May 26, 2005
St. Louis, MOSt. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley, Multi-Purpose Room, 3400 Pershall Road, St. Louis, MO 63135-1499June 2, 2005May 26, 2005
Portland, MECity Hall, 389 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101June 7, 2005May 31,2005
Atlanta, GAAtlanta Fulton County Public Library, 3rd Floor Meeting Room, 1 Margaret Mitchell Square, Atlanta, GA 30303June 9, 2005June 2, 2005
Denver, COU.S. Federal Building, 1961 Stout Street, Room 239, Denver, CO 80202June 14, 2005June 7, 2005
New York, NYJacob Javits Federal Building, 6th Floor Conference Room B, 26 Federal Plaza, New York, NY 10278June 16, 2005June 9, 2005
Washington, DCSBA, 409 Third Street, SW, Eisenhower Conference Room, Washington, DC 20416June 17, 2005June 10, 2005
Chicago, ILRalph H. Metcalfe Federal Building, 77 West Jefferson Blvd., Morrison Room, Chicago, IL 60604June 20, 2005June 13, 2005
Dallas, TXBill J. Priest Institute, 1402 Corinth Ave., Dallas, TX 75215June 22, 2005June 15, 2005
San Francisco, CASan Francisco District Office, 455 Market Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105-2420June 28, 2005June 21, 2005
Los Angeles, CASBA, Los Angeles District Office, 330 North Brand, Suite 1200, Glendale, CA 91203June 29, 2005June 22, 2005

The hearings will begin at 8:30 am and end at 5:30 pm, with a break from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm, except for the Atlanta hearing, which will start at 9:30 am and end at 6:30 pm. SBA will adjourn the hearing early if all those registered have provided their testimony.

Individuals testifying before SBA will be limited to a five minute oral presentation, and SBA officials may ask questions to clarify or further explain the testimony, but SBA will not respond as to whether it agrees with the views or position of the testimony.

Anyone interested in testifying must pre-register by e-mail at Hearings.sizestandards@sba.gov at least five business days prior to the scheduled hearing date, and should include the following information relating to the person requesting to testify: name, title, organization affiliation, address, telephone number, e-mail address, fax number, and which hearing the presenter wants to attend to provide testimony. SBA will attempt to accommodate all interested parties who wish to present testimony, but time considerations limit the total number of presenters at each hearing. If the number of individuals seek to testify at a specific hearing exceeds the number permitted due to time limitations, SBA will ask if any interested parties are able to attend a different hearing, and if that is not possible, will ask those requesting to testify last in time to submit their concerns in writing.

SBA requests that the testimony focus on the issues discussed in the December 3, 2004, ANPRM; the general issue of simplifying size standards; other improvements to size standards; or any of the other issues related to small business size standards. SBA requests that those testifying not raise issues pertaining to other aspects of SBA's small business programs, because such issues are more properly suited for a different forum than these hearings. Also, the hearings are not intended for the public to petition for a change to a specific size standard. Parties interested in SBA considering a change to a particular industry size standard may submit a request to SBA as described in the small business regulations at 13 CFR 121.102, How does SBA establish size standards?.

Those who plan to attend the hearing but not testify must pre-register as well. Those should indicate in the registration request that the registrant will be attending the hearing but not making an oral presentation.

SBA will confirm in writing the registration of presenters and attendees for the hearings. Participants will be notified of any changes regarding the schedule or conduct of the meeting. Information concerning the public hearings will be available on at http://www.sba.gov/size.

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

Copyright 2005 by Panoptic Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.

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