NEW YORK (AP) — The head of the U.S. Small Business Administration says she doesn’t expect operations at the agency to be dramatically affected by automatic federal budget cuts scheduled to begin March 1.
Administrator Karen Mills said that the SBA won’t need to furlough employees because it already cut staffers through early retirements. “We are down the requisite amount of expenses, but we’re not having to furlough to do it,” Mills said in a Friday meeting with reporters.
Mills also expects little impact on the amount of loans the SBA guarantees. According to the White House, SBA loan guarantees would be cut by up to $902 million. In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the agency guaranteed $30 billion. But Mills said demand for one type of loan, known as the 504 loan, is expected to fall this year, and that will likely mean the agency will be able to meet demand for its other loans. There was a sharp increase in 504 loans last year because of a now-expired provision allowing them to be used as a mortgage refinancing tool.
“We are not slowing down giving loans to anyone,” Mills said.
Mills says that many small businesses have already felt the impact of the budget cuts that are known, in congressional parlance, as sequestration. She noted that contracts at the Pentagon, the agency that has the biggest federal contracting budget, were down sharply in December in anticipation of the budget cuts.