Trump’s New Budget Cuts Millions From Small Business Administration

Optimism among small business owners reached a near-record high in February, according to one industry group, but President Donald Trump may have derailed that confidence with the release of his new budget proposal Thursday.

The budget, for fiscal year 2018, would slash $43.2 million, or 5 percent, from the Small Business Administration. More than a quarter of those cuts would come in the form of grant programs, where, according to the draft proposal, “the private sector provides effective mechanisms to foster local business development and investment.”

Those grants include the SBA’s Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs, or PRIME, funds, which help lower-income Americans without necessary education and training get access to the money they need to start or grow their businesses, as well as funding for networks of small innovative companies known as “regional innovation clusters” and annual grant competitions.

Trump’s budget also dropped the dollar amount of loan guarantees for small business owners by about 2 percent, to $45 billion from $46 billion in fiscal year 2017, and cut $100 million in disaster assistance loans, dropping the amount to $1 billion from 2017’s $1.1 billion.

The budget touted the administration’s effort to roll back regulatory measures, lower taxes and eliminate “redundant programs” and funds that are “better provided by the private sector.”

After a meeting with small business owners at the end of January, Trump signed an executive order mandating that for every new agency regulation introduced, two must be proposed for repeal, while the cost of the new rule must be “no greater than zero.”

The Senate confirmed Trump’s pick for SBA administrator, professional wrestling magnate Linda McMahon, by an 81-19 Senate vote on Feb. 14. In her Senate testimony, McMahon, who donated $6 million to Trump’s campaign, promised to cut back on “duplicative programs,” while boosting disaster support and reducing the “burden of the regulatory environment.”

Lydia O’Neal

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