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Federal government failed to meet small-business contracting goal

July 03, 2013|By Adolfo Flores

Despite making progress, the federal government fell short of its 2012 small-business contracting goals, according to figures released Tuesday.

U.S. agencies awarded 22.25% of federal contracts to small firms, just shy of the goal of 23%, the Small Business Administration said. But it was an increase from 21.65% in 2011.

The government did exceed its contract goals for small businesses owned by people of color and disabled veterans. However, it missed its goals for small businesses owned by women and those in historically underserved business zones.

“The fact that the federal government hasn’t met this meager 23% small business contracting goal for seven years is simply unacceptable,” said Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), chairman of the House Small Business Committee, “and further proof that our government continues to give lip service to small companies.”

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Graves said the government failed to meet its goals for the seventh consecutive year and that small businesses actually received 19.38%, not 22.25%, of all federal contracts for 2012, according to the committee’s own analysis.

The analysis took into account contracts the government didn’t include such as those awarded to federal prison industries, utilities and businesses overseas, Graves said.

SBA officials were not available to comment Wednesday afternoon.

In a statement, the SBA said the U.S. awarded contracts totaling $376.2 billion to small businesses from 2005 to 2008. That's a $48.1 billion increase over the four preceding years, despite reduced contract spending overall.

“The SBA continues to focus on a number of initiatives to help the government meet the 23% goal, ensure the accuracy of data, and prevent fraud, waste and abuse,” the agency said. The “SBA and the Obama administration will continue to provide small-business owners the necessary tools to ensure they have the wind at their back, enabling them to grow and create jobs.”

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adolfo.flores@latimes.com

Follow Adolfo Flores on Twitter.

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