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Bush Cuts Will Hurt Low-Income Entrepreneurs, Hillary Warns

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A large non-profit community based organization (CBO) will lose key funding if President Bush’s 2006 budget is approved, according to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Clinton said the Bush spending plan will cut the Small Business Administra­tion’s Program for Investments in Microentrepreneurs (PRIME), which provides training and technical assistance to low-income entrepreneurs, The Church Avenue Merchants Block Association, Inc. (CAMBA), 1720 Church Avenue, is one of several CBOs that have traditionally received PRIME money and then turns around to assist such entrepreneurs. “Given the critical importance of small businesses to our nation’s economic infrastructure, I believe that investing in the PRIME program is investing in American jobs, standard of living improvements, and a sound economy,” said Clinton. “With small businesses as the number-one job creator in America, we have a duty to nurture and support them,” she added. Clinton said last year the PRIME program provided over $1.5 million to a number of organizations and non-profits across New York that help with training and technical assistance for New York’s smallest businesses. As part of her efforts to have the funding restored, Senator Clinton wrote to the Chairman and Ranking Members of the Senate Appropriations Sub-Committee on Commerce, Justice, and Science, urging them to restore funding for PRIME in the Fiscal Year 2006 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill. In her letter, Clinton asked that the bill provide $5 million for the PRIME program, the same amount that the program was funded in 2005. CAMBA, established in 1977, has programs in Bay Ridge, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Bushwick, Canarsie, Crown Heights, downtown Brooklyn, East New York, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Kensington, Ocean Hill, and the Park Slope, according to their website. Formed originally as a merchants’ association, it has steadily expanded its services to Brooklyn residents and businesses. According to their website, CAMBA provides education, health-related, housing, legal, social, business development and youth services to approximately 28,000 individuals each year. The organization also serves persons of low-income; persons moving from welfare to work; persons who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or transitioning out of homelessness; persons living with or at risk of AIDS and HIV; immigrants and refugees, according to the website. CAMBA Executive Director Joanne Oplustil said the organization received about $116,000 in PRIME funding last year, which was down about 66 percent from the year before. “If he [Bush] cuts it out completely, those groups that were funded won’t have anything. It doesn’t make any sense,” said Oplustil. “We’re very grateful to Senator Clinton in her efforts for pursuing and being very persistent in insuring groups were funded and we hope she can continue the fight for next year,” she added.

Posted 7:05 pm, October 10, 2011
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