By Maria Valdez Haubrich

Everyone’s feeling the pain from the President’s fiscal 2012 budget proposal—including the Small Business Administration. The proposal is asking for $985 million, which is 45 percent less than the $1.8 billion the SBA received in 2010. Unfortunately, the cuts could mean less support for the administration of the agency’s lending and counseling programs, plus some salaries, operational expenses and staff reductions.

Other cuts might mean streamlined loan applications and certification procedures, which would be a plus for small-business owners. According to SBA Administrator Karen Mills, cuts will be necessary in support to Small Business Development Centers and a technical-assistance program called PRIME. Luckily SCORE will not be affected.

The SBA did ask for some budget increases such as an additional $132 million loan subsidy for higher default rates on loans.

The President asked the agency for cutting “excess spending wherever we find it,” however all parties understand the proposal is merely a framework and more cuts to SBA funding may be needed.