While the Obama administration is currently promoting small businesses as the key component to our country’s economic recovery, Congress is reviewing Small Business Administration programs with a lean towards cutbacks. The House of Representatives, as well as the Senate, committees on small business are planning on sifting through SBA programs in order to find inefficiencies. However, there are no specific items in trouble just yet.
The final decision on how much money the SBA, who supports small businesses via loan guarantees, counseling help and other assistance, receives each year ultimately lies with Congress. The Senate will review the effectiveness of SBA programs which could include “eliminating duplicative, ineffective or redundant” ones according to Senators Mary Landrieu, chairwoman of the small business committee, and Olympia Snowe, another ranking member.
The Senators are asking the agency to reply with programs that could be eliminated or “substantially reduced” without hurting the ability of the SBA to “serve the needs of small business owners” by today. No comment from the SBA will be released until it replies to the committee.
The House committee also plans on reviewing all of the SBA’s programs in order to eliminate redundancy as well as waste, according to a statement by chairman Representative Sam Graves. According to an email from a committee spokeswoman, “Cuts are definitely on the table, but not yet. We all are focused on bringing down the deficit and stopping the spending spree in Washington.” The House committee’s oversight plan, which is a 2-year agenda, has several areas that are being considered for cutbacks.
One such area is a loan program which allows businesses to get SBA-backed loans of $250,000 or less far more quickly and with less paperwork than larger SBA loans require. A related program, which targets small business loans for veterans and members of the military community, is also on the list.
Various other policies that are being examined by the committee include one that promotes small business exports and another which helps Native American entrepreneurs and regional SBA staffing nationwide. According to Greaves, “There is nothing out there that I have a grudge against or I have a problem with, there are programs that don’t work. To keep something around just because it is already on the books I think is wrong.”
Spending is not a word people like to use or hear in Washington these days and Congress is looking to cut budgets across the board. President Obama, in his State of the Union address, stated that he would freeze domestic spending in order to help address the growing national deficit, however, details of his budget proposal for 2012 remain to be seen.
Meg Riley, a spokeswoman for the Office of Management and Budget, said that she could not comment on exactly how much money would be given to the SBA until the official numbers are released later this month. According to Riley, “As the President has said, there will be some tough choices that will have to be made in order to put the country on sound fiscal footing, which is critical to long-term economic growth and making the U.S. competitive in the world economy.”
Source: CNN Money – Congress eyes cutbacks at Small Business Administration