WASHINGTON - Senator John Kerry, Ranking Member of the Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, today expressed his concerns over the Administration’s proposals tosmall business programs at the Small Business Administration. All initiatives are up for reauthorization this year and the first of three roundtable discussions was conducted today to review non-credit programs.

“The recommendations proposed by the SBA fall well short of meeting the growing needs faced by small businesses in these challenging economic times,” said Kerry before a group of small business representatives. “The proposal is problematic on a number of levels - with severe hits to women, minorities, veterans and federal contractors, the Administration’s plan does not make sense in any economy, let alone a struggling one.”

Kerry expressed concerns over the proposed capping of funding levels for six years, with no increase to meet inflation; an inadequate staff level in the Office of Advocacy; the hamstringing of the Small Business Development Center program and the Women’s Business Center program; and the SBA’s failure to, again, ensure that the federal government meets its contracting goal with service-disabled veterans and women-owned businesses and in Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Zones.

Future roundtables to discuss the credit programs at the SBA, like the cornerstone 7(a) lending program, will be held in the coming months.