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The FY2010 Budget Request

Jonathan Ortmans, President, Public Forum Institute

The FY2010 budget request (i.e. the Appendix) is finally out. Here are some details about the President’s allocations for science and technology and small businesses.

The Budget provides a 16-percent increase over 2008 funding levels for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and similarly large increases for the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Commerce (which oversees the National Institute of Standards and Technology -NIST). These agencies will receive 7 billion, 26.4 billion and 13.8 billion respectively in discretionary funding.

In terms of innovation, here are a few interesting highlights:


  • The NIST Technology Innovation Program will receive $70 million
  • The budget provides to the Economic Development Administration (EDA) $50 million for regional planning and matching grants to support the creation of regional innovation clusters that leverage regions' existing competitive strengths to boost job creation and economic growth. 
  • The budget launches a $50 million EDA initiative that will create a nationwide network of public-private business incubators to encourage entrepreneurial activity in economically distressed areas.
  • The budget provides the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office full access to its fee collections, which “will provide resources to strengthen the Office’s ability to encourage innovation and safeguard the value of intellectual property through more efficient and higher quality patent and trademark examinations.”
  • It allocates $10 million for carrying out activities authorized in section 5012 of the America COMPETES Act (Energy Transformation Acceleration Fund).

The President also requests $779 million in funding for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Excluding disaster loan funding, the FY2010 request is a 40 percent increase above President Bush’s budget request last year. The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair highlighted the following budget details among others:


  • $80 million for the 7(a) program, the largest SBA loan program.
  • $3 million for the microloan program to support a level of $25 million in loans, and an additional $10 million for technical assistance to complement the $24 million for technical assistance in the Recovery Act and $6 million to support a level of $50 million in microloans. The microloan program allows intermediaries to provide small loans to entrepreneurs and start-ups, helping to create or retain close to 10,000 jobs last year.
  • $97 million for Small Business Development Centers, which provide counseling
  • $13 million for Women Business Centers. The additional funding would make it possible to provide funding for at least seven more centers.
To date, unless we have missed something, there do not appear to be any major investments in high growth new businesses –or at least they are not detailed yet.

Stay tuned to see how the investments are allocated into more specific programs and priorities.

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