SBA Funding on the Rise
Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed the Financial Services Appropriations Bill, which incorporates a $22 million increase for the Small Business Administration (SBA) over the President’s request. The bill allocates a total of $697 million in funding for the Small Business Administration (SBA) and its core capital and counseling programs.
Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Chair, Mary Landrieu, D-La, highlighted that this represents more than $150 million increase from last year. Chair Landrieu and Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine both worked with the Appropriations Committee to raise these funding levels for the SBA. “The agency’s funding has been cut more than any other agency in the last eight years. We can’t reverse this trend overnight, but this bill goes a long way in rebuilding core programs. The funding will allow the agency to back additional loans to entrepreneurs, provide technical assistance to struggling businesses and help ensure that small businesses have the resources needed to create jobs and help America get back on its feet,” Sen. Landrieu said.
In terms of finance programs, the bill provides $80 million for the 7(a) loan program to back $17.5 billion in loans and keep fees low, and $3 million to back $25 million in microloans.
The contracting and counseling programs benefiting include the Small Business Development Centers ($114.4 million in funding), the SCORE program ($7 million), and the Federal and State Technology Partnership (FAST) program ($2 million in funding). This last program provides matching funds for states to increase the awareness and success in applying for and winning Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards, both of which are currently the subject of discussion in Congress.
In addition to the $697 million, the bill also includes $104 million for the SBA Disaster Loan Program to leverage more than $1 billion in loans. Finally, the bill also directs the SBA to fill vacant positions in local SBA district offices and the Department of Commerce’s export assistance centers (out of the 109 of these centers nationwide, there are currently only 17 International Finance Specialists).