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Government falls short of small-business contracting goal

Jul. 2, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
By JIM McELHATTON   |   Comments

The federal government fell just short of its small-business contracting goals last year, the Small Business Administration announced Tuesday.

The government spent 22.5 percent of federal contracting dollars on small businesses in fiscal 2012, which was up from 21.65 percent in 2011, John Shoraka, associate administrator for contracting and business development at SBA, wrote in a blog post Tuesday. The statutory governmentwide goal is 23 percent.

This marks the seventh year in a row the federal government has missed its small-business goals.

“We also made significant impact in several key areas of small business contracting, including exceeding the goal for service disabled veterans for the first time and delivering the highest percentage of contracts to small disadvantaged businesses to date,” Shoraka said.

He also said more agencies are reaching or surpassing their small-business goals.

Among agencies that fell short of goals were the National Science Foundation and the Homeland Security and Energy departments, according to newly released scorecards posted on SBA’s website. The Energy Department received a failing grade from SBA, spending 5.15 percent of its contracting dollars on small business against a target of 10 percent.

Rep. Sam Graves, chairman of the House Small Business Committee, said that’s not enough progress.

“We passed legislation last year that takes a step toward holding senior executives accountable for meeting the small business goals by making goal achievement an element in their performance plans,” Graves said. “Nevertheless, the administration must make meeting this goal a priority because it’s efficient governance, and not just a law, that makes small businesses feel good.”

Graves also said the government actually spends a little under 20 percent of all prime contracting dollars on small businesses, after accounting for awards to Federal Prison Industries, utilities and some overseas work deemed not suitable for award to small businesses.

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