By Vandana Sinha
WASHINGTON – The Small Business Administration is lauding two measures aimed at making it easier for small companies to contract with the federal government.
The measures brought their sponsor, Rep. Albert Wynn, D- Prince George’s, the Small Business Administration’s Leadership Award. The award will be presented Saturday.
Wynn’s proposals, passed just days before the congressional recess, were included in the Small Business Reauthorization Bill. Both proposals are awaiting President Clinton’s approval.
One requires federal agencies to justify any instance of bundling, or combining several contracts into one project too large to attract smaller companies.
Supporters of bundling say it is an efficient way for the government to do business. But Wynn and SBA officials argued that it is actually more costly in the long run because it reduces competition.
“Anti-bundling will keep small businesses very active, increase competition, lower prices and lower the dollars that taxpayers invest in these contracts,” SBA spokesman D.J. Caulfield said when the bills were being considered in September.
The second measure raises the government’s small business contracting goal from 20 percent to 23 percent and allots more than $4 billion extra to federal contracts with small businesses.
The SBA said Maryland small businesses received about $8.3 million in federal contracts in fiscal 1996, fifth in the nation in federal procurement per capita. It also said that 98 percent of the 98,606 full-time firms with employees in Maryland are small businesses, or those with fewer than 500 workers.
Wynn, who was “totally shocked” to get the SBA award, said he plans to continue to attack bundling to “prove that they are costing the government more money.”
“I believe the key to our prosperity is basically jobs, and the best way to create jobs is to help small businesses expand and hire women, minorities and young people,” he said Friday.