From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
October 5, 1999
Contact: Jeremy Warren, (512) 463-0113

Houston Senator gets first-ever award for promoting small business

HOUSTON -- Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) tonight will receive the first-ever Christopher Scott Award from Small Business United of Texas at its annual convention and banquet. The honor is given to the Texas legislator who has done the most to promote small business in Texas.

Ellis, a State Senator since 1990, was cited for his 1997 legislation creating the Texas Capital Access Fund. Administered by the Texas Department of Economic Development, the fund has made 150 million dollars in loans available to small Texas businesses. He was also praised for his sponsorship earlier this year of a bill exempting small businesses with gross receipts under $150,000 from the state franchise tax.

"Small business is the engine that drives the Texas economy," said Ellis. "Of all the employers in the state, 84% are small businesses employing less than 20 people. In the last decade, they have been the leaders in job creation in Texas. During the 1990s, in fact, large employers cut their workforces while small businesses added new jobs and employees to our economy."

"With so much of the prosperity of Texas and the nation riding on small businesses, lawmakers should be careful not to do anything which can hurt them," said Rob Jones, Small Business United board chair. "Senator Ellis not only has learned this lesson, he has been teaching the lesson by championing small business in his legislative work. With friends like Rodney Ellis in the Legislature, we at Small Business United of Texas look forward to future legislative sessions."

Small Business United of Texas is one of the largest regional small business advocacy associations in the nation. The award is named for Christopher Scott, a longtime board member who died in 1997 after a valiant battle with cancer. The award was presented at a banquet in Ellis's honor during the association's annual convention.