WASHINGTON – United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, held a hearing this morning to discuss President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget request for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Testifying before the Committee were SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills, SBA Inspector General Peggy E. Gustafson, SBA Chief Counsel for Advocacy Dr. Winslow Sargeant, Managing Partner of Tapit Partners LLC Ridgely C. Evers, Chief Executive Officer and Cofounder of Mercantile Capital Corporation Christopher G. Hurn, Director of Financial Markets & Community Investment for the United States Government Accountability Office Bill Shear and President of the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders Tony Wilkinson.

“This is a very strong budget, in tough budgetary times,” Senator Landrieu said. “It makes investments in key SBA programs that will enable the Agency to successfully fulfill its core mission. Most importantly, it will enable the SBA to continue the great work it has done in supporting small businesses as they continue to recover and rebuild in the wake of the worst economic recession since the Great Depression.”

Sen. Landrieu continued, “This is a good budget, a strong foundation for the agency. However, I am very concerned about reducing the budget for our counseling and technical assistance programs and the negative impact such cuts could have on critical core services for America’s entrepreneurs. We must ensure that small businesses have the necessary tools and resources to keep their businesses thriving, while working to find reasonable avenues to reduce the budget.”

The President requested $948 million in funding for the Agency for FY2013, plus $167 million for disaster loans.

Fiscal Year 2013 Budget highlights for SBA include:

• $235 million to support $16. billion in lending through the 7(a) loan program;

• $113 million to support $6 billion in lending through the 504 loan program;

• $167 million to administer the SBA’s disaster loan program and leverage $1.1 billion in disaster loans;

• $12.6 million for the Women’s Business Center program;

• $6.5 million for SCORE;

• $2.5 million for Veterans Business Development programs;

• $101 million to Small Business Development Centers;

• $7 million for the National Veterans Entrepreneurial Training (VET) Program.