Obama's Budget: How Much In Earmarks For Small Businesses?

An analysis of pork barrel spending in the federal omnibus budget bill.


The $410 billion federal budget is poised to be signed by the president. And, as usual, it's loaded with earmarks. So how big of a slice of the pork barrel pie is going towards small-business-related programs?

First, we have $65.6 million in earmarks for the Small Business Administration. This chunk is made up mostly of money for small-business development and training programs in local areas and universities, such as $300,000 for a "business incubator" at Bevill State Community College in Alabama, or $100,00 for a "minority and women-owned business program" in the city of Hagerstown, Maryland. But even among these SBA earmarks, we see allocations that seem only tangentially related to small businesses, such as $712,500 for Appalachian State University to study the economic effects of "agritourism" in western North Carolina. Overall, the SBA gets a fairly sizable amount of earmarks.  It's more than, say the Fish and Wildlife Service ($46 million) or the Department of Labor ($41.2 million), but far less than, say, the Department of Education ($262 million).

Second, there is $4.92 million for Department of Commerce earmarks in the International Trade Administration and Minority Business Development Agency arms. This is good if you work in the textile industry, because the majority of this money seems to go to shore up the trade-battered US textile sector, such as $1 million in "textile research" to NC State University. But overall these business earmarks are a small part of the already small allocations to the Department of Commerce ($211.5 million).  None of these earmarks are as large as, say, $1.5 million for pinniped research at the Alaska SeaLife Center.

By the way this information comes from the awesome spreadsheet of budget earmarks created by the advocacy group Taxpayers for Common Sense.  Play around with it yourself to see where the money is going.

small business

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