Entrepreneurship researchers are urging lawmakers to reconsider proposed federal funding cuts that would eliminate surveys of the nation's small businesses.

Under a House 2008 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill, the U.S. Census budget would be slashed by $10 million, shutting down a periodic survey of "Business Owners and Self-Employed Persons," according to the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy.

It calls the survey a vital resource for analyzing the economic and demographic characteristics of smaller firms.

"The loss of this data will hamper policymakers and researchers' understanding of the many contributions and challenges of our nation's small businesses," Thomas Sullivan, the agency's chief counsel, said last week in a letter to Congress.

The survey also provides unique information on franchises, family-owned businesses, and home-based businesses, Sullivan said.

Congress is expected to take up the bill after the summer break.

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