TIA Lobbyists Have Questions About Obama Stimulus Plan

Sometimes, timing is everything.

Earlier today, the Telecommunications Industry Association, a trade group for the communications industry, presented its Winter Small Business Symposium event at Cisco Systems headquarters in San Jose, Calif. You can check out my earlier post about it here.

Among the event’s activities was a panel of three VCs discussing the challenges of raising capital in today tough economic climate. The TIA event also included roundtable discussions on capital raising techniques and top tech trends to watch in ’09.

Grant Seiffert, president of the TIA, told me that his membership group had wanted to hold this kind of event for the last few years and that it was just a coincidence that it took place now, during an extremely rough economic patch.

Seiffert knows full-well the pains of a bad economy. The group boasts about 500 member companies, such as Cisco and Intel, but about 80% of its clientele are small businesses. And Seiffert says the trade group has seen a little drop off in membership as some companies cut back on spending.

But Seiffert is optimistic and is adamant that a recovery will be fueled by the tech industry.

As for the burning question of the day—How will the stimulus package affect the nation’s startups?—Seiffert says that dolling out cash from the proposed stimulus is going to be a huge challenge.

President Barack Obama’s $825 billion economic stimulus package is generating questions ranging from where small businesses fit into the proposal to the speed of its impact on the economy. The stimulus plan, under consideration by the U.S. Senate, calls for pumping money into public works construction and energy research, tax credits to lower middle class and poorer households, expanded safety net programs, credits for businesses that create jobs in the U.S., aid to state governments and deploying broadband communications to underserved areas.

“There are lots of moving parts to the stimulus package,” Seiffert says. “Once the Congress comes together and approves it, they still need to figure out how to roll this out. We’re excited for the opportunity the stimulus package will bring, but lost of questions still to be answered.”