Presently, Congress is maneuvering to establish an FY 2017 appropriation, at best through omnibus and at worst through yet another Continuing Resolution (CR). Simultaneously, the Administration looks to completely revamp spending.
The Trump Administration has demonstrated their goal to diverge from the Obama Administration’s funding priorities. NACA strongly contends with funding decreases that will adversely impact key programs intended to support Native businesses and economic development. If implemented, these changes to funding will likely have second and third order effects. Subtle changes to programs like the Small Business Administration and the Minority Business Development Agency possess the potential to significantly impact Native businesses and economies.
With the release of the Administration’s “Skinny Budget” the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) budget would be reduced, yet again. SBA Already labored a 5% reduction to their FY’17 budget ($43M and is set for another 5% reduction in FY’18. Additionally, if the Skinny Budget is adopted as is, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) will be completely dissolved for $36M earmarked for savings.
Both the reduction to the SBA’s budget and the dissolution of the MBDA would have immediate and detrimental impact to Native businesses. In 2016, the SBA’s budget line item for Native Outreach was merely $2M. If the overall budget is reduced by the proposed total of 10%, outreach to Native businesses will likely all but freeze in its tracks.
Likewise, if the MBDA ceases to exist so will a source of available business resources, such as funding and essential training, as well as access to pipelines directing Native businesses to commercial and government markets. The MBDA is one of the few agencies that actively seeks innovative ideas from underutilized factions of the population and finds ways to turn those ideas into marketable products and services.
For these reasons, NACA is urging its members, strategic partners, and all interested parties to advocate that these programs not be underfunded or dissolved. We understand and support the need for fiscal responsibility, however, we also understand that small businesses are a driving force – the economic engine -- within our Nation’s economy. Likewise, small businesses are the life blood for many Native communities. Slashing these programs, will have adverse and unintended consequences not just within Native communities but for the Nation at large.
We solicit your support. Please submit comments to your Congressional delegation asking that these programs not be injured, and please make those comments available to NACA. These should include your request for the programs to remain funded at current levels, success stories (the positive impacts you have realized by these programs), and/or examples of how these programs constitute good government. If ever there was a time to engage on issues of overarching impact to Native small businesses, it is now!