Sequestration has significantly decreased the size of the government contracting pie. The last twenty four months have been especially difficult for small federal contracting businesses as indicated in the August 2013 Washington Post Blog. A small minority veteran woman business owner expressed her frustration by stating, “I have been in business for close to ten years and this year has been a nightmare for me.” She also stated, “My company is dying.” In the past, set-aside programs such as 8(a) Business Development Program, HUBZone Program, Service-Disabled Veteran –Owned Businesses, and Women-Owned Small Businesses provided a vehicle for small companies to get crumbs and small slices of the 200 billion dollar government contracting budget.
According to the Small Business Administration website, “Over 30 years ago, Congress set a goal of having a certain portion of all federal contracting dollars go to small businesses and established sub-goals for small businesses owned by women, socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, service disabled veterans of the Armed Forces, and for small businesses in Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HuBZones). The current government-wide goal for small businesses’ share of contracting dollars is 23%.” ‘The SBA website list a sampling of statutory goals established by federal executive agencies.
The New Budget Deal is a holiday gift to small federal contracting businesses because federal agencies have more funds available to purchase services. The golden days when small set-aside businesses saw the creation of jobs and wealth for socio-economically disadvantaged groups as described in the book by Shelton Rhodes and Peter Fretty, A Piece of the Pie is over. The New Budget Deal means a modicum of normalcy but the federal contracting market is still fraught with uncertainty and the feeding frenzy for even small contracts continues.