Larsen: STEP Program a Highly Successful Tool for Small Businesses

Dec 19, 2014 Issues: Jobs and the Economy

WASHINGTON—A program to help small businesses sell their goods abroad that Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, has long championed received $17.4 million for FY2015, more than double its previous funding. The State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Program is designed to increase the number of small businesses that are exporting, and to increase the value of exports for those small businesses that are currently exporting.

STEP was established as a pilot program in 2010. Larsen introduced a bill in 2013 to make the program permanent, and he successfully requested continuing funding for 2014 and 2015.

“When we help our businesses sell their goods overseas, we create jobs here at home. We know this well in Washington state, where 40 percent of our jobs are tied to trade.

“The STEP program has proven a highly successful tool for small businesses. Every dollar we spend in our state through the STEP program brings back $75 to our economy. That kind of success is a solid investment that is producing clear results for our businesses and our communities. I am pleased STEP will continue helping us send the things we make, instead of our jobs, overseas,” Larsen said.

Funding for STEP was included in the FY2015 appropriations bill that President Obama signed on December 16. Larsen voted against the bill because of several harmful policy provisions.

“A bill to fund the government should be just that – a bill to fund the government. Instead, the spending bill further guts our campaign finance laws by giving the wealthy a loudspeaker in our elections. It cuts into the number one source of federal grant money to help low- and middle-income students afford a college education to help them get the skills they need to succeed in today’s job market. And it devastates the pensions of a million hardworking Americans, a hypocritical action in a country that is supposed to stand up for the middle class.

“While I strongly disagree with some of the bad decisions made in this bill, within its 1,600 pages is funding for programs like STEP that will continue to create jobs by helping our small businesses grow,” Larsen said.

More information about the STEP Program is available here.