Tester: Implement JOBS Act, increase small businesses’ access to capital

Senator pushes officials to make progress on his law to help companies grow, create jobs

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester today took advantage of his Banking Subcommittee Chairmanship to push federal regulators to more quickly implement the law he wrote to help small businesses raise much-needed capital to grow, innovate and create more jobs.

Tester’s measure, known as “Regulation A,” was part of the bipartisan JOBS Act that overwhelmingly passed the Senate in 2012. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is in charge of implementing the law, has yet to release final rules to help small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Tester’s law, introduced with Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), allows companies to sell up to $50 million in shares without filing lengthy paperwork. Currently, businesses can only raise $5 million under Regulation A – a limit that many businesses consider insufficient and has not been updated for more than 20 years.

“Capital allows business to grow, take calculated risks and create more jobs,” Tester said at today’s hearing. “Without it, that next great idea may not become a reality. I was pleased we were able to pass bipartisan legislation that ensures that businesses can access capital they need. But now is the time to ensure that our vision becomes a reality.”

“Completion of JOBS Act rulemaking is a top priority for Chairman White, so it’s a top priority for me,” said Keith Higgins, head of Corporate Finance at the SEC. “We recognize the importance of the rules and we are working diligently to get them done. There’s a lot of factors that go into it, but we will get the proposals out in short order.”

Tester emphasized that access to capital will strengthen the economy in Montana, where small business owners tell him about the need for better access to capital more than any other issue.

“Montana small businesses vary from family farms and ranches to innovative biotech companies,” Tester said. “If the money is there, so is the expansion. So is the capacity to do more research and development, and so is the next great idea.”

Small businesses across Montana supported the JOBS Act, which included Tester’s Regulation A bill, including Microbion in Bozeman, Ticketprinting.com in Harlowton and Bozeman, Davidson Companies in Great Falls, and TerraEchos in Missoula.

Tester took charge of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance and Investment earlier this year. In addition to today’s panel looking at the implementation of Regulation A, he has held hearings on his housing finance reform bill and his bill to streamline the insurance licensing system.