Washington, DC (December 1, 2009)- Public Law 101-515 directed the Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA) to create the National Small Business Tree Planting Program (Title 15, Chapter 14A, section 651 of the U.S. Code) and authorized $15 million in appropriations for FY1991, and $30 million in annual appropriations for FY1992 through FY1997. While the program was a valuable tool for small businesses, who worked in collaboration with state and local governments on development plans to utilize the funding, SBA did not have the appropriate resources necessary to administer the program.
The program provided grants to state forestry agencies to enable communities to receive funds to hire private nurseries and arborists for tree-planting projects that helped to beautify retail storefronts and rental housing and parks, turn Main Streets into Green Streets, and jump-start many municipal tree canopy initiatives. As research has shown, trees enhance community economic stability by attracting businesses and tourists.
The funds were allocated by population and resulted in hundreds of local grants. Each locality receiving funds was obligated to contract with private industry companies, such as landscapers, nurseries, arborists, and consulting foresters. Typically, local foresters worked directly with the program, approving planting plans and transferring vital technological expertise.
Unfortunately, it offered no money for the SBA to administer it. With minor changes, we’d like for the National Small Business Tree Planting Program to be reauthorized. The Alliance for Community Trees is pleased to offer the following suggestions for reauthorizing the legislation:
* Appropriate the program in the amount of $50 million for each of fiscal years 2011 to 2016.
* No more than 10% of program funds shall go towards administrative costs for the SBA and we assume the remainder will be passed to the states via the state foresters.
* No less than 90% of program funds shall go towards state-approved pass-through local contracts for tree-planting and maintenance by green industry companies and nonprofit organizations.
National Small Business Tree Planting Program Draft Letter to U.S. Representatives
Add your name to the National Small Business Tree Planting Program Sign-On Letter
Growing Healthier, Greener Business Districts- Fact Sheet about the Benefits of Trees