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NH small business owner Mark Lane testified at the Small Business Committee hearing

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen today discussed the challenges small businesses face in securing credit at a Senate Small Business Committee hearing where Mark Lane, owner of Newfields-based Coed Sportswear Inc., gave his first-hand account of how the economic crisis is affecting his business. Shaheen introduced Lane at the hearing where he gave testimony about being forced to slash his staff from 80 to 40 employees because he cannot get a new line of credit from a bank, despite the fact that he has paid his business loans on time for nearly 20 years.


“Mark Lane exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit that has driven the modern New Hampshire economy, but he is also unfortunately an example of a small business that has been hit by the double blow of shrinking consumer demand and frozen credit markets,” said Shaheen.  “New Hampshire’s economy is a small business economy, with 94 percent of companies in New Hampshire having fewer than 100 employees, and we need to make sure our small businesses, including Mark Lane’s, have the financing they need to stay in business and keep employees on payroll.”


“As we all know, it’s small businesses that drive our economy, and without small businesses there would be no economy at all,” said Lane.  “Helping small business will put Americans back to work and will pull the country out of our current economic malaise.”


Lane last visited Washington, D.C. in 1995 when he was awarded the Small Business Administration’s National Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.  He returned today to ask for help in getting credit moving again so he can once again be in a position to expand his business.


Today’s hearing was the first of many planned Senate Small Business Committee hearings dedicated to addressing the needs of small businesses.  Today’s hearing included a panel of small businesses owners and lenders from across the country.


Over the last month, Shaheen has met with small business owners and economic development leaders across New Hampshire to discuss the unique economic challenges they face in this economy.  Since joining the Senate, Shaheen has supported numerous measures to help small businesses, such as a provision to make credit more available and less expensive to small businesses by temporarily eliminating certain loan fees, another to raise Small Business Administration guarantees on some 7(a) loans to 90 percent, and a measure to extend the amount of time small businesses can carry back business losses from two years to five.