Dear President-elect Obama:

Dear President-elect Obama:

The health of small business is vital to our nation's economy.

Small firms:

Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms. Employ about half of all private sector employees. Pay nearly 45 percent of total U.S. private payroll. Have generated 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs annually over the last decade. Create more than half of non-farm private gross domestic product. Hire 40 percent of high tech workers (such as scientists, engineers, and computer workers). Are 52 percent home-based and 2 percent franchises. Made up 97.3 percent of all identified exporters and produced 28.9 percent of the known export value in fiscal year 2006. Produce 13 times more patents per employee as large patenting firms; these patents are twice as likely as large firm patents to be among the 1 percent most cited.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census and International Trade Administration; Advocacy-funded research by Kathryn Kobe, 2007 (www.sba.gov/advo/research/rs299tot.pdf) and CHI Research, 2003 (www.sba.gov/advo/research/rs225tot.pdf); Federal Procurement Data System; U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I am a small business owner in Southern Oregon struggling through these tough economic times. I have seen the direct impact of the current economic crisis on a very local level. I have a plan that I believe would have an immediate and lasting impact on our nation's economy through a cash infusion to small business.

Here is my plan:

Allocate $100 billion of the so-called bailout funds approved by Congress to the Small Business Administration.

Using a lottery system, the SBA would then make up to $500,000 grant/loans immediately available to 200,000 small businesses that have gross revenue of more than $1 million but no more then $5 million per year.

For each job created or retained by these businesses, the SBA would forgive $50,000 of the grant/loan. At the end of five years, if 10 jobs have not been created, the balance would be converted to a low-interest loan.

If administered quickly, this program would have an immediate effect on our economy — top to bottom. Many small businesses are starved for cash. They are being forced to lay off experienced workers, adding to the growing unemployment problem. This plan would enable small businesses to keep their doors open, invest in new technology and marketing, and provide jobs.

Thank you,

Rick Moir, president, Lanphier Associates, Medford