The Small Business Administration recently released data showing the U.S. government missed its small business contracting goal for its 11th straight year in 2011, and it may happen again in 2012, according to Bloomberg.
The target was 23 percent of eligible direct contracts to small businesses, and it awarded 21.7 percent of more than $423 billion, which is down from 22.7 percent in 2010. Federal agencies also fell short when it came to women-owned businesses, which received $16.8 billion or 4 percent of eligible contracts. The government set a goal of awarding at least 5 percent to women-owned small businesses in 1994, and it has never met this goal, according to the news source.
The SBA announced the figures for last year when there is only three more months of the 2012 fiscal year, and it seems as businesses may not be able to turn it around in time. Thus far, federal agencies have awarded 17.8 percent of the $212 billion in eligible contracts in the fiscal 2012. Michael Golden of Pepper Hamilton law firm believes agencies can meet the goal around if they change up their 90-business plan, the media outlet reports.
"Releasing the numbers at this point really highlights where there are opportunities for improvement and really puts the attention on the agencies," John Shoraka, associate administrator for government contracting at the SBA, said during a media call. "This highlights the fact that we need to improve and highlights the agencies that need to focus on that improvement."
Both the Democratic and Republican Parties were dismayed by the numbers, and are hoping to see a boost in the coming months.
"It is extremely disappointing that the federal government has again failed to meet its small business contracting goals," U.S. Representative Sam Graves, a Missouri Republican who is chairman of the House Committee on Small Business, told the media outlet. "If the administration takes this priority seriously, these goals are very achievable."
According to The Washington Post, there are currently no penalties for agencies that do not meet the contracting goals, but that may soon change. Lawmakers on both sides are looking to pass new bills that would get rid of bonuses for department heads as well as reducing budgets for agencies that come up short.