WASHINGTON – United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary Landrieu, D-La., today praised the Senate for passing an Omnibus Appropriations Act that includes $546,626,000 for the Small Business Administration (SBA), providing a boost to the nation’s 27 million small businesses. This is a $63 million increase from what President Bush originally requested and a $47 million increase from what was appropriated last year when disaster loan funding is excluded.

“Small businesses are our nation’s number one job creators. With unemployment the highest it’s been in a quarter century and 80 percent of jobs cut in the last four months being from small businesses, entrepreneurs are turning to the government for help,” Sen. Landrieu said. “The Omnibus Appropriations Act will help create and save jobs by investing in small businesses and funding the programs they need to survive.”

The FY2009 Omnibus provides:

Capital Programs

• SBA the authority to back $17.5 billion for the 7(a) and $7.5 billion for the 504 loan programs. The 7(a) and 504 loan programs are the largest source of long-term capital for small businesses, helping to create or retain more than 544,000 jobs last year.
• $2.5 million in funding to leverage more than $21 million in microloans and $20 million for microloan technical assistance. President Bush originally requested no funding for these programs for the fifth straight year. 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.
• SBA the authority to back $3 billion for the Small Business Investment Company Program (SBIC), an initiative that helped powerful job creators like FedEx and Intel when traditional investors turned them away.
• $2 million in funding to leverage $1 billion in surety bonds, helping the SBA to guarantee bonds for small contractors who have been squeezed out of the conventional bonding markets because of the credit crunch. This will help to create or save as many as 9,400 jobs.

Contracting and Counseling Programs

• $1.2 million for Veterans’ programs, including an additional $457,000 above the President’s request to add three more veteran business outreach centers. This funding is critical to meet the needs of returning veterans.
• $110 million for Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) – a 13 percent increase from last year’s appropriation and a 26 percent increase from the President’s request. The funding is necessary to address an increased demand for counseling services. One million of this appropriation is for Veterans Assistance programs and $1 million is for energy efficiency programs.
• $13.75 million for Women Business Centers and $775,000 for the National Women’s Business Council, an increase for both programs. President Bush requested less than $13 million for the two programs combined. In 2008, 7.2 million firms were owned by women. These firms employed 7.3 million workers and created $1.1 trillion in revenue.
• $5 million for the Program for the Investment in Microentrepreneurs (PRIME), which provides training and business assistance to low-income entrepreneurs with very small businesses. President Bush requested no funding for the program for the eighth straight year.
• $2.38 million for the 7(j) technical assistance program, which provides small disadvantaged businesses with training in financing, business development, management, accounting and marketing. President Bush requested only $1.5 million.
• $5 million for the SCORE Program, which provides one-on-one counseling to small business owners through the use of experienced volunteers.
• $1.033 million for Native American Outreach. President Bush requested only $987,000.
• $2.5 million for the Historically Underutilized Business Zones program (HUBZones), which creates incentives for contracting with small firms to create jobs in underserved communities. President Bush requested only $1.5 million.