Merkley Amendment Would Reduce Wait Time for HUBZone Designation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley put forward an amendment Wednesday to reduce the wait time for small businesses to benefit from a federal program that aids small businesses in hard-hit areas.  There is currently a two-year lag time after the census is completed before metro areas can be designated HUBZones.  Cities and towns in Central Oregon have been waiting since the recession began for this designation and should not have to wait two more years before they receive assistance.

“The effects of the recession are reverberating in Central Oregon and small businesses need every edge they can get,” Merkley said.  “By cutting down on bureaucracy and expediting HUBZone designations, we can provide small businesses with critical assistance.”

The HUBZone program allows businesses within a designated HUBZone area to apply for preferential consideration for federal contracts. Senator Merkley’s amendment cuts red tape and speeds up the process of HUBZone designation for metro counties.  The amendment accomplishes this by:

Requiring the Department of Housing and Urban Development to designate Qualified Census Tracts (QCT) as soon as they receive the data from the Census Bureau – instead of holding onto that data for 10 months.

  • Requires the Small Business Administration to set the effective date for QCT HUBZones as soon as possible after QCTs are designated.
  • Allows businesses in newly qualified HUBZones to apply for certification immediately after the QCTs are designated, instead of waiting additional months for the effective date.

Small businesses in struggling areas should not have to wait for almost an entire year while bureaucrats shuffle paper.  If a business is eligible for the HUBZone program, they should begin the process of applying as soon as possible.  Senator Merkley’s amendment would shave almost an entire year of that application process and bring new business opportunities to communities in need.