WASHINGTON – Today the Senate passed a Democratic budget that is a boost for America’s 27 million small businesses. Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), the Chairman of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, worked with Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) to secure over $100 million in additional funding above the President’s request for the Small Business Administration (SBA) in the 2009 budget blueprint. The Senate’s budget adds funding for increased loan oversight and reduced fees, microloans, contracting assistance, Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, veterans outreach programs, and technical assistance programs, among others.

“This Democratic budget will help create jobs by investing in America’s small businesses,” said Senator Kerry.  “Small businesses create more than two-thirds of all new jobs, yet by refusing to fund important small business programs the Bush Administration has starved entrepreneurs of the resources they need to grow their firms.  Democrats are fighting to get our economy back on track by boosting funding for financing, training and contracting programs for small firms.”

The Democratic budget blueprint would increase funding for:

Capital Programs

  • Greater oversight of lenders in the 7(a) program by providing $9 million and reduced 504 loan fees by providing $1.4 million. The 7(a) and 504 loan programs are the largest source of long-term capital for small businesses, helping create or retain over 824,000 jobs last year.
  • Microloans to $3.6 million (from zero) and Microloan Technical Assistance to $20 million (the President’s budget sought to eliminate it). Last year, small businesses received more than $31 million in microloans, proportionally helping more women and minorities than other programs.
  • New Markets Venture Capital to $5 million (from zero) and New Markets Technical Assistance to $5 million (from zero). These programs promote economic development and the creation of job opportunities through equity investments in low-income areas.

Entrepreneurial Development and Outreach Programs

  • Small Business Development Centers to $105 million (from $87 million).  The 950 SBDC offices around the country provided counseling to 600,665 businesses last year.
  • Women's Business Centers to $17 million (from $11.9 million).  The 95 Women’s Business Centers, that provide business assistance to socially and economically disadvantaged women and men, last year helped 147,000 businesses.
  • SCORE Program to $7 million (from $4.95 million).  In the SCORE program, volunteers provide one-on-one counseling to small business owners.
  • Veterans Programs to $2.3 million (from $743,000).
  • Native American Outreach to $2 million (from $730,000).  
  • U.S. Export Assistance Centers to $8 million (from $6.4 million).  These centers help small businesses compete and succeed in the global marketplace.
  • Program for the Investment in Microentrepreneurs to $5 million (the President's budget proposal sought to eliminate it).   PRIME provides training and business assistance to low-income and very low-income entrepreneurs.
  • Veterans Programs at SBDCs to $3.25 million. A veterans entrepreneurship bill signed into law in February 2008 established a grant program for SBDCs to provide more information to veterans about small business resources.
  • Energy Efficiency Programs at SBDCs to $3.25 million. The energy bill signed into law in December 2007 established a grant program for SBDCs to provide more information to small businesses about how to become more energy efficient.

Contracting Programs and Assistance

  • Hiring additional Procurement Center Representatives to $11.6 million (from $6.6 million).  PCRs monitor federal contracts and “break out” contracts for small firms.
  • 7(j) Technical Assistance Program to $5.5 million (from $1.5 million). This program provides small disadvantaged businesses with training in financing, business development, management, accounting, and marketing.
  • HUBZones to $5 million (from $1 million).  Historically Underutilized Business Zones create incentives for contracting with small firms to create jobs in underserved communities.