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Assemblyman V. Manuel Perez Commentary in the Desert Sun

The following Op-Ed by Assemblyman V. Manuel Perez appeared in the Desert Sun:

With economic forecasters anticipating double digit unemployment in 2011, many Californians may be approaching the New Year with apprehension, concerned about whether they will be able to find work and make ends meet. This is why there is no higher priority for me than to help our No. 1 job creator — small businesses — succeed and grow.

Small business success creates an economic ripple, stimulating consumption of local goods and services which, in turn, builds demand for jobs. Here in the Coachella Valley and throughout California, local entrepreneurs are working hard to make this cycle of progress possible.

Several Entities Weave A Network Of Support

Even during difficult times, our local entrepreneurs demonstrate belief in our communities by making the inherently hopeful decision to start a business.

By meeting a demand for an existing product or expanding into new services, technologies and markets, they see opportunity where others may not.

Critical to the viability of our small business sector is the range of local economic development agencies, organizations and initiatives, such as the Coachella Valley Enterprise Zone, the regional Empowerment Zone and the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership. Also, there are technical assistance providers such as the Coachella Valley Women’s Business Center, the SCORE office in Palm Desert, and the Small Business Development Center in Palm Springs. Together, these entities weave a local network of support and services to promote business development and keep businesses healthy.

I remain committed to working in a bipartisan fashion on legislation that promotes local economic development and helps the state be a better partner to local business. I am pleased that some of my ideas in this arena advanced in the last legislative session and take effect Jan. 1. One new law helps businesses by expediting the approval process for certain energy efficiency retrofits and upgrades. Another helps ensure certified small and disabled veteran owned businesses have a fair shot at state procurement contracts.

In September, Congress passed the Federal Small Business Jobs Act, which puts more capital in the hands of entrepreneurs and business owners. It also provides training, technical assistance and tax relief.

Small Business Recovery Bill Provides Assistance

In October, the state Legislature approved a small business recovery bill providing more than $30 million in financial and technical assistance programs that have a proven record of impact. This bill originated from small business roundtables that I co-convened with Assembly Majority Policy Leader, Assemblyman Mike Feuer.

As Jobs Committee chairman, I am working actively to ensure the swift and accountable implementation of both of these bills. We have so far held two in a series of coordination meetings among the implementing agencies, financial intermediaries, and small business advocacy organizations.

Putting all the key implementers in the same room is helping to forge new partnerships and energize relationships in the network of economic development finance and business assistance.

When local businesses are successful, communities reap the benefits. I look forward to participating in this positive trend in our valley. This is what I am hopeful about as we approach 2011. I am committed to working with local partners and to continue to support legislation that will assist the small business recovery of our region.

Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez represents the 80th District, which includes eastern Riverside County and Imperial County. He invites you to visit his office in Indio or contact him through his web site at

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