Fiscal Year 2006 Federal Budget Update
Microenterprise programs survived the initial budget mark-up process in Congress
The United States House of Representatives and Senate are currently working through the Fiscal Year 2006 budget process. The House and Senate recently completed the appropriation mark-up process.
Despite being zeroed out in the President’s budget, the House Science-State-Justice-Commerce (SSJC) bill includes funding for the SBA Microloan Program. The House mark-up included $10 million for Microloan Technical Assistance, $1 million in Microloan lending authority, and $12.5 million for SBA Women’s Business Centers.
The Senate Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee mark-up included $15 million for Microloan Technical Assistance, $2 million in Microloan lending authority, and $12 million for SBA Women’s Business Centers.
Action moves to the full Senate
The Senate must now pass the CJS bill on the Senate floor. Currently there is no floor action for this bill, but it is anticipated to take place in late July or early September. Following this, representatives and senators will begin Conference Committee negotiations to reconcile differences in their two bills.
While federal funding for microenterprise has decreased steadily over the past four years, microenterprises – the nation’s smallest businesses – have played an increasingly large role in our nation’s economy. Across the United States over 27 million microentrepreneurs account for 17 percent of all private employment.
Microloan Program is critical
The Microloan Program is the nation’s largest funder – public or private – of microenterprise lending capital and technical assistance. For many very low and moderate-income entrepreneurs, these programs represent the only opportunity they have to receive business training, a business loan, and a real chance at success through self-employment.
The Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) has been an SBA Microloan Intermediary since 1992. The SBA Microloan Program is the place where REAP and close to 200 other similar organizations in the United States receive their loan capital and technical assistance funds in order to serve you, the entrepreneur. REAP is also proud to operate Nebraska’s only SBA Women’s Business Center.