WASHINGTON - Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today announced he will continue fighting for critical small business programs eliminated or inadequately funded in the President's fiscal year 2005 budget request.
"We have seen the same mistakes four years in a row," Kerry said. "The President talks like a friend of small businesses, but since he took office, the SBA budget has been cut more than any other major agency in the federal government. The Administration's roadmap for congressional spending has left small businesses stranded."
From 2001 to 2005, the Bush Administration has cut the SBA budget by 24.7 percent, according to the White House budget summary. This year, the President has requested 15 percent less than he did last year for Small Business Administration programs, while increasing overall federal spending.
"By eliminating or cutting these programs, the President is hurting those who are struggling the most, yet are our greatest job creators - our small businesses. For many of these entrepreneurs the SBA is their only resource," Kerry said.
Compared to his fiscal year 2004 request, the President proposed cutting SBA's budget by $119.5 million, which includes:
- eliminating funding for the 7(a) loan program;
- eliminating the Microloan program;
- eliminating the Program for Investment in Microenterprise (PRIME);
- eliminating SBA funding for the U.S. Export Assistance Centers;
- eliminating the Native American Outreach program;
- eliminating the Business Information Centers (BICs);
- eliminating the BusinessLINC program;
- eliminating the New Markets Venture Capital program;
- eliminating Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Rural Outreach grants;
- eliminating SBIR Federal And State Technology grants;
- raising fees for the SBIC venture capital programs;
- underfunding the Women's Business Centers program by $1.5 million;
- cutting the Small Business Development Centers by $1 million; and
- cutting the 8(a) technical assistance program by 25 percent.