Free Enterprise - The FindLaw Small Business Law Blog

Congress to Gut Small Business Administration?

Not the Small Business Administration!

It's sad but true. We live in a time of budget cuts, and Karen Mills, the head of the SBA was asked to look into the programs in the SBA "that you believe could be eliminated or substantially reduced without undermining the S.B.A.'s ability to serve the needs of small-business owners." 

Don't blame any particular political party, either. The letter to Mills regarding the potential SBA cut was drafted by both a republican and a democrat, Senators Mary Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, and Republican Olympia Snowe.

Of course, an aide for Ms. Landrieu, a democrat, said the senator "is not looking to cut any program that's working or that will harm the agency in any way." But how will they know for sure that they aren't cutting a program that is in fact working? It's not an easy determination to make.

It seems that the idea for cutting the SBA actually has a decent amount of support. Take for example, Sam Graves of Missouri, who wrote an oversight plan for the committee. He said that:

"Offices that primarily provide assistance or advice to headquarters staff that do not promote the interests of small businesses or protect the federal government as a guarantor of loans will be recommended for cuts or elimination."

So in the end, what will this mean for your small business? At this point, it is still too early to tell. Graves plan points out a couple of programs that will be under scrutiny, including loan programs for veterans called the SBA Express and Patriot Express.

Graves was reached by The New York Times while feeding cattle on his farm in Tarkio, and said "The fact of the matter is, there's going to have to be some spending priority changes in Congress," he continued. "You can't keep spending money that you don't have. That's just all there is to it. And every business knows that, too. Everybody is under the microscope, and that includes the SBA."

Welcome to 2011, America.

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