Prepared Remarks of Secretary Shaun Donovan at a St. Paul, Minnesota Press Conference on "Winning the Future Through Investments in Small Business"

St. Paul, Minnesota
Friday, March 4th, 2011

Thank you, Deputy Mayor Williams, for that kind introduction and for your remarkable leadership.

Thanks to Congresswoman McCollum for her outstanding work on behalf of Minnesota's families -- particularly her advocacy for our seniors. 

And I'd like to recognize my good friend Congressman Ellison, who has been an extraordinary partner for HUD as we work together help America's families have the housing and opportunity our country needs to win the future.

It's great to be back in St. Paul with these champions for Minnesota families and businesses to celebrate the opening of Frogtown Square.

This is my third trip to the North Star State. When it comes to planning and building our communities in a way that allows us to harness the talent of every American--talent we will need to out-build and out-innovate our competitors around the globe--the Twin Cities gets it -- and leaders like Congresswoman McCollum and Congressman Ellison get it.

This is a community that recognizes that you can't compete and innovate in the 21st century economy if you don't support the businesses that will drive that innovation.

And at HUD, we recognize it as well. We're not just a housing agency any more -- we're putting the "UD" back in HUD, determined to help cities like St. Paul become engines of opportunity by investing in the small businesses that will allow them to prosper.

Small businesses are not only the backbone of our economy and the cornerstone of our communities -- they also create two of every three new jobs in America. That is why since taking office President Obama has signed into law 17 new tax cuts for small business.

Those tax cuts were included in laws ranging from the Recovery Act, which helped pull our economy back from the worst recession since the Great Depression, to the Affordable Care Act, which is providing relief for small businesses struggling with high health care costs, to the HIRE Act, which offered incentives to businesses to hire people out of unemployment.

And of course, the President's bipartisan tax cut package from last December allowed all businesses--large and small--to expense every dime of their new investments until the end of 2011. This package alone will add more than a million-and-a-half jobs this year to the economy.

We're here today at Frogtown Square because it represents an innovative investment in the small businesses that help our economy grow, and make America more competitive.

But what makes Frogtown Square unique is that it literally piggybacks on to that small business investment to create affordable housing for seniors.

And I'm proud HUD helped make that investment possible, providing $6.4 million for supportive housing for the elderly in the King's Crossing homes, allowing residents to live independently and in a community of opportunity.

Indeed, we know from years of building and financing affordable housing that the most successful developments include a range of not only incomes but also uses, both commercial and residential -- so that residents have access to the retail businesses and grocery stores that are staples of any thriving community, and so those businesses have a built-in customer base.

And thanks to Dedrick Young and Damen Johnson's barber shop, Phyllis Gillman's women's clothing store, Mike Saul's Subway Restaurant, and all the other businesses working to create jobs and serve this community, Frogtown Square represents a real model for that approach.

In fact, we've been working with Congressman Ellison to ensure every affordable housing development HUD supports can feature this mix of uses and incomes -- whether it's senior housing, public housing, or any other kind of federally assisted affordable housing.

Congressman Ellison understands that affordable housing can be an anchor for small businesses -- and for the kind of neighborhood revitalization we're seeing here in St. Paul.

Indeed, with partners like Congressman Ellison, Congresswoman McCollum, and local leaders like Deputy Mayor Williams, we can link access to housing to opportunity for small businesses.

We can help our seniors and low-income families while at the same time we give entrepreneurs like Dedrick, Damen, Phyllis, and Mike a real chance to grow their businesses and create jobs.

And we can lay the foundation for the 21st century economy our country needs to compete.

That's what President Obama means by "winning the future." And that's why I'm so very glad to join you all today. 


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