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Messages from Mike - Archive for May 2008

A Helping Hand for "Mom and Pop" Shops

Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2008 8:40:13 PM

As I drive through my district, I pass family owned tacquerias, barber shops, printing businesses, and child care centers.  I'm reminded daily that "Mom and Pop shops" form the heart of our community.  In fact, in Texas nearly half of workers employed outside of the farming sector are employed by small businesses. I'm working to ensure that your state government does more to support entrepreneurs.  I also wanted to share some local nonprofit resources that may be of help to those of you who are starting or expanding a businesses.


Technical Assistance:


The City of San Antonio Small Business Program:  

This program assists entrepreneurs and existing businesses with a range of services including information on licensing, and regulations, advise on competing for government contracts, sources of capital, and development of business and marketing plans.  Follow this link to a calendar of upcoming events.


Institute for Economic Development:

The Institute for Economic Development (IED) provides ongoing consulting, training, technical, research and information services, in tandem with University-based assets and resources, and other state, federal and local agencies, to facilitate economic, community, and business development throughout South Texas and the Border Region. Visit their website for a calendar of upcoming events.


SCORE - San Antonio:

SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives, is a nonprofit organization providing free business counseling to individuals considering starting their own business and small business owners.  Known as "Counselors to America's Small Business", these volunteers provide face-to-face and online counseling as well as free and low-cost workshops.  Visit their website for a list of upcoming workshops.


Sources of Capital:



The mission of ACCION Texas is to provide credit to small businesses that do not have access to loans from commercial sources. Through loans and services, ACCION Texas helps micro-entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses, stabilize and increase their incomes, create additional employment and contribute to the economic revitalization of their communities.


Community Development Loan Fund:

The Community Development Loan Fund (CDLF) is an alternative funding source committed to promoting economic development for small business, non-profits and underserved areas.


South Texas Business Fund:

The South Texas Business Fund is a self-sustaining resource of the city of San Antonio that provides loans to small businesses.



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Mother's Day Pledge: Stronger Child Support Laws

Posted on Thursday, May 8, 2008 9:24:33 PM

This weekend we recognize the countless things that our mother's have done to nurture and educate us.  I hope that other leaders in Texas will also take this time to join my pledge that our state will be a better partner in these efforts.


One of the ways that Texas can be a better partner is by helping single mothers collect the child support they are due. The Federal Government reports there is a whopping $9.8 billion in unpaid child support in Texas.


It is hard enough for a single mother to raise her children even if she is financially stable.  But it's just wrong if she also has to struggle paycheck-to-paycheck to make ends meet because the father isn't living up to his responsibility.


It also leaves children behind. About half of children living in poverty in this country live with single mothers. Only about one-third of those children receive child support.


We must work with parents who have trouble making their child support payments, but we can't let parents off the hook if they try to avoid their responsibilities.


In the next legislative session we will work to give the Attorney General's office the tools to locate and collect money that a noncustodial parent is trying to hide. We will also give the Attorney General more time to collect unpaid child support so single mothers don't have to worry about the clock running out.


This Mother's Day, I want moms who are struggling to get child support to know that they are not alone.  I invite them to share their personal stories below. I'll pass these stories on to my colleagues in the Texas Legislature as we continue our fight to ensure that Texas honors our mothers with stronger child support protections.  

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Save Gas Money and the Planet

Posted on Tuesday, May 6, 2008 8:56:38 PM

Oil company profits may be going through the roof, but high gas prices are squeezing families on a limited budget. Something is wrong with this picture.


I'm pleased the FTC is strengthening protections against gas price manipulation. Congress should also shift tax breaks from oil companies to consumers and renewable energy. But the real solution is transforming the economy so we are no longer hostage to global oil prices.


I have researched ways the state can provide Texans some relief until we build new energy and transportation systems, such as light rail transit. But, frankly, so far I haven't found anything that will do the trick in the short-term.


Fortunately, there are a few steps we can all take to immediately save money on gas and cut down on air pollution.


In addition to driving less, did you know you can save the equivalent of 14 cents per gallon by keeping your engine properly tuned; 35 cents per gallon by replacing old air filters; or 11 cents per gallon by keeping your tires properly inflated?


It can add up to a lot of savings for you and a lot less smog in the air we breathe.  Check out more suggestions and information online.


- Mike


P.S. In the spirit of saving money and doing your part to save the environment, don't forget about the sales tax holiday on energy efficient light bulbs, ACs, dishwashers and more, May 24-26.

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