Kerry calls SBA budget proposal insufficient

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, criticized President Bush’s proposed budget for the Small Business Administration (SBA), calling it insufficient to meet the needs of small businesses and repair the deep cuts made to SBA over the past seven years.

The proposed fiscal 2008 budget for the SBA represents a 45 percent cut since 2001 and a 32 percent decrease when not counting disaster loan funding, Kerry said.

Bush requested $464 million for the SBA, or .02 percent of the entire $2.9 trillion federal budget. However, SBA Administrator Steven Preston said the proposed budget represents a 5 percent increase over fiscal 2006.

Kerry called the SBA budget a case of triage when it needs a major overhaul. “The cuts have been so deep for so long that many small businesses are falling through the cracks,” he said. “Yet again, the president has sent us a budget that gives with one hand and takes away with another.”

Kerry said the budget “still lacks the transparency and sufficient levels to really leverage the resources this agency has to grow our economy, grow the middle class, and help minorities build wealth.”

Kerry added that the budget would also cut key business counseling and outreach programs such as Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, the Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs and technical assistance programs.

The budget would set aside $24 million in obligated funds for government contracting and business development. It also includes $75.2 million for SBA’s information technology programs, said Sean Rushton, assistant administrator in SBA’s Office of Communications and Public Liaison.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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