2013-05-14 National Governors Association

NGA/CSG STEP Grant Program

The Honorable Harry Reid
Majority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Minority Leader
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Senator Reid, Senator McConnell, Speaker Boehner and Representative Pelosi:

On behalf of the National Governors Association (NGA) and The Council of State Governments (CSG), we write to support the continuation of the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant program (Section 1207 of the 2010 Small Business Jobs Act).

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, exports accounted for 48 percent of all domestic economic growth in 2012.  State trade offices work together with NGA, CSG, and with their federal counterparts to create jobs at home by helping American small businesses sell products abroad. State efforts have contributed directly to the progress made to date in meeting the National Export Initiative (NEI) goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015.  NGA most recently facilitated a trade mission for governors to China.

The STEP program was initially authorized for three years (FY11-14) and appropriated for two years.  Since 2011, the STEP program has provided $30 million annually to state trade offices to assist directly small and medium sized enterprises enter and expand into new export markets.  Reauthorization of the program beyond 2014 will ensure continued growth in the nation’s global competitiveness, maintain stability in STEP’s operations and outlays and, most importantly, create jobs.

According to a 2006 World Bank study, the worldwide average return on investment for each dollar spent on export promotion is 40:1.  Across the board, states are experiencing even higher levels of success, with some states achieving rates of return of 90:1 or higher.  STEP is a proven program with a demonstrated rate in one of the most promising sectors of the America economy.

We encourage Congress to support the long-term reauthorization of this vital and effective grant program.

Sincerely,

Governor Tom Corbett
Chair
Economic Development and Commerce

Governor Steve Beshear
Economic Development and Commerce
Committee

Governor Jay Nixon
President
Council of State Governments

Senator Gary Stevens
Chair
Council of State Governments

CC: Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Barbara Mikulski
Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Richard Shelby
House Appropriations Committee Chair Hal Rogers
House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey
Senate Small Business Committee Chair Mary Landrieu
Senate Small Business Committee Ranking Member Jim Risch
House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves
House Small Business Committee Ranking Member Nydia Velazquez