July  2006      Vol. 15, No. 7  REAP HOME PAGE  A publication of the Center for Rural Affairs    
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Fiscal Year 2007 Federal Budget Update
Though the President’s budget cut critical funding for microenterprise, action taking place soon in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate can reverse that outcome

The United States House of Representatives and Senate are working through the Fiscal Year 2007 budget. The House and Senate recently completed the appropriations mark-up process.

Despite being zeroed out in the President’s budget, the House Science, State, Justice and Commerce (SSJC) Appropriations Bill includes funding for the SBA Microloan Program. The House mark-up included $10 million for Micro-loan Technical Assistance, $1 million in Microloan lending authority, and $12.5 million for SBA Women’s Business Centers. The SSJC bill was expected to be on the floor of the House the week of June 26, 2006.

The Senate Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee is scheduled to markup its spending bill on July 11. The bill will then go before the Full Senate Appropriations Committee on July 13, 2006. Following this action, the House of Representatives and Senate will begin Conference Committee negotiations to reconcile differences for their respective bills.

While federal funding for micro-enterprise has decreased steadily over the past 5 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.

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), a program of the Center for Rural Affairs, has been an SBA Micro-loan 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.

Contact: REAP Program Director Jeff Reynolds at 402.656.3091 or by email at jeffr@alltel.net.
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