WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME) today expressed her dismay that the Federal government has failed to meet its statutory small business contracting goals.  Although Federal law requires the government to allocate 23 percent of procurement dollars to small businesses, the Small Business Administration (SBA) on August 17 reported that just 22.8 percent of such expenditures went to small firms in Fiscal Year 2006.


“I am deeply disappointed that the Federal government has continuously failed to meet mandated small business contracting goals,” said Senator Snowe.  The current state of affairs is totally unacceptable, and government agencies must ensure that small businesses – our nation’s true job creators – receive their fair share of contracting dollars.”


While Snowe was disconcerted that the government did not meet its overall small business contracting goals, she was particularly outraged that just one of four Federal small business contracting programs met its statutory goals for awarding contracts to small firms.  While the small disadvantaged business program has achieved some success, women-owned small businesses in Fiscal Year 2006 failed to meet its 5 percent small business goal, receiving only 3.4 percent of contacts.  Meanwhile, the Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) program met only 2.1 percent of its 3 percent goal.  Most troubling of all, service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses received a government-wide total of just 0.9 percent of contracts, far short of the statutory 3 percent small business goal.


“I am appalled that the Department of Defense managed to grant a miniscule 0.67 percent of contracts to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses,” said Senator Snowe.  “This is an insult to those who have sacrificed so much for this country and who now seek to contribute even more by operating a small business.  Obviously, the Department of Defense must take immediate steps to drastically improve its dismal record.”


Finally, Snowe acknowledged SBA Administrator Steven C. Preston’s efforts to establish transparency through the launch of the Small Business Procurement Scorecard for individual agencies.  While Snowe believes the scorecard will help ensure that the legally required percentage of contracting dollars will flow to small businesses, she remains concerned that more needs to be done in order to ensure that small enterprises have greater access to government contracting opportunities.


“Although I compliment Administrator Preston for developing an innovative new scorecard that will help government agencies meet contracting goals, this alone is insufficient” said Senator Snowe.  “I call on the Administration to develop additional proposals and procedures that will hold agencies accountable for failing to deliver at least 23 percent of Federal contracting dollars to our nation’s small businesses.”