Advocates say that second consecutive year of budget cuts undermine efforts to reduce racial wealth gap and extend jobs and opportunity throughout the state.
BOSTON, July 10, 2017—On Friday, the legislature voted to approve the conference committee budget for Fiscal Year 2018, including just $750,000 in funding for the Small Business Technical Assistance program, a 25% cut from FY 2017 and a 62.5% cut from FY 2016. The funding was also below the levels proposed by the Governor ($1 million), the House ($1 million) and the Senate ($2.5 million).
“We are dismayed with the budget’s devastating and disproportionate cut to a successful program that is creating jobs, opportunity and new tax revenue across the Commonwealth,” said Joseph Kriesberg, President of MACDC. “This program is specifically targeted to reducing the racial wealth gap, supporting immigrant entrepreneurs, boosting rural economies and reaching other hard to serve markets in our state. These cuts move us in the wrong direction.”
“We understand the state’s tight budget, but a 62.5% cut over two years to a successful program does not make sense when we see growing economic inequality,” noted Kriesberg. “We will continue to advocate for hard working entrepreneurs to ensure they have the support they need to succeed.”
“We call on Governor Baker to use some of the discretionary funds recently pulled from various state accounts to restore funding to this program, at least to the level he proposed in his FY 2018 budget.”
The Small Business Technical Assistance program was created under Governor Mitt Romney and has enjoyed bi-partisan support ever since. It is administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation and funds a network of over 30 community based organizations who provide highly specialized services to targeted markets. FY 2016, the program achieved:
- Technical assistance and training from grantee SBTA providers to 1,891 business clients;
- 1,056 new jobs were created; 1,594 jobs were preserved;
- 367 businesses received $29,970,094 in financing, a leverage rate of 15:1;
- 74% of businesses supported achieved a positive outcome: opened, grew, or stabilized;
- 97% of clients are from underserved communities including people of color, immigrants and women.
Joseph Kriesberg can be reached at 617-721-7250 or firstname.lastname@example.org.