This from our guy in DC, Martin Feeney of Madison Services Group.
On April 3, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government met to consider the President’s FY2015 proposed budget for the Small Business Administration (SBA). Acting Administrator Marianne O’Brien Markowitz testified on behalf of the SBA.
The purpose of this hearing was to review the President’s $865 million funding recommendation for the SBA, as the Subcommittee begins to draft the FY2015 SBA spending bill. The FY2015 request is a decrease of $64 million from current FY2014 funding.
In his opening remarks, Chair Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) highlighted the importance of the SBA’s Women’s Business Center (WBC) program, and noted that the WBC in his District, the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center was recently recognized by the SBA for outstanding performance.
Ranking Member Jose Serrano (D-NY) said one of his primary concerns with the proposed budget was the elimination of the PRIME program, saying that he and his colleagues will once again fight to reinstate funding for the program.
Topics covered during the hearing included:
- Focus on high-growth businesses: Chair Crenshaw noted that there seems to be more focus on assisting businesses poised for growth rather than assisting true small businesses; he asked the SBA ensure the needs of entrepreneurs are being met.
- Microloan: both Chair Crenshaw and Ranking Member Serrano emphasized the importance of the Microloan program and support the SBA’s recommendation for full funding for the program.
- PRIME: As noted, Ranking Member Serrano repeatedly noted the SBA’s lack of support for the PRIME program, asking the Administration to better articulate why the continue to propose eliminating it. SBA Acting Administrator O’Brien Markowitz noted her familiarity with the program and the benefits it provides from her time as a regional SBA director, saying “I know the good the program does.”
- Disaster preparedness: all Members gave the SBA high marks for its disaster efforts and recognized the SBA’s efforts to enhance disaster responses, including new lending approval processes for disaster loans.
- Agency-wide efficiency: the SBA has successfully reduced administrative costs by better managing fleet services, consolidated office space.