The Bush administration is gearing up to take one last shot at dismantling federal programs designed to assist middle class firms. Earlier this year, the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that they intend to review size standards for every industry classification within federal contracting programs. SBA critics contend that the announcement is an indication that the SBA is positioning itself to increase federal small business size standards to allow much larger firms to participate in federal contracting programs designed for small businesses.
Since President Bush took office, his administration has cut the SBA's budget and staffing by more than 50 percent. In addition to harsh budget cuts within the SBA, the Bush administration has refused to implement the federal law establishing a 5 percent set-aside program for women, closed the SBA office to assist veteran owned firms, and dramatically cut staffing at the SBA for programs designed to assist minority owned firms.
In 2004, the SBA took public comment on a proposal to reduce the federal definition of a small business from 500 employees to 100 employees or less. The proposal received the highest response in SBA history, with 95 percent of respondents in favor of dramatically reducing federal small business size standards. (http://www.asbl.com/showmedia.php?id=89)
Regarding the SBA's proposed audit of all federal small business size standards, the ASBL predicts that Bush officials will completely ignore the public comment, as they have in the past, and propose polices to dramatically increase small business size standards. On July 17th, 2008, the Associated Press (AP) reported that between 2004 and 2007, $1 in every $3 spent by the Federal Government with small businesses went to firms within 50 miles of the White House. Based on a series of federal investigations into the actual recipients of federal small business contracts, a significant portion of the firms coded as small businesses during those years were actually Fortune 1000 corporations or divisions of Fortune 1000 corporations.
The ASBL is concerned that the Bush administration may attempt to close the SBA completely and end all federal programs designed to assist small businesses by combining it with the United States Department of Commerce.
George Bush has been the most anti-small business president in my lifetime and we are watching him very carefully. We anticipate that the Bush administration will make one more attempt to dismantle federal programs designed to help America's 26 million small businesses. The Bush administration has a documentable track record of diverting hundreds of billions of dollars in federal small business contracts to some of the largest companies in the world and we are watching them very closely.