State Small Business Credit Initiative: Improved Planning Could Help Treasury Limit Additional Delays

What GAO found

The State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) provides funding to eligible jurisdictions (state, territory, District of Columbia, and tribal governments) to support small business lending and investment programs through its capital programs . Eligible jurisdictions may also apply for technical assistance funding (such as legal, accounting, and financial advisory services) to support certain businesses covered by the SSBCI program or other government small business programs.

The Ministry of Finance, which administers SSBCI, has repeatedly extended the application deadline for capital and technical assistance programs (see chart). All 50 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia have submitted applications for the Capital Planning Fund, and as of September 30, 2022, the Treasury has approved 31 of his applications for $1.3 billion. have spent

State Small Business Credit Initiative Application Deadline Extension March 2021-March 2023

Due in part to these extended deadlines and the time required to review and approve numerous applications, the Treasury Department is taking longer than expected to disburse SSBCI funds. Critical SSBCI implementation steps remain, including review of remaining applications, implementation of compliance monitoring and performance measurement plans. However, Treasury’s planning work does not fully incorporate certain best practices previously developed by GAO for reliable project scheduling. For example, the Treasury Department’s work plan does not identify staff or contractors responsible for each activity. Fully implementing these best practices will help limit potential delays and ensure timely disbursement and monitoring of program funds.

The Treasury Department is developing a framework to support and monitor compliance with jurisdictions’ SSBCI guidelines. In November 2022, the Treasury Department published the compliance and oversight standards that jurisdictions use for their programs. Officials said they are building on the procedures used in his original SSBCI and plan to develop compliance monitoring procedures (used by the Treasury Department) by Dec. 31, 2022. . Measure program performance.

Why GAO did this study

SSBCI was reauthorized by the 2021 American Relief Plans Act (ARPA) to help small businesses recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Congress has allocated $10 billion for this program.

The CARES Act and ARPA include provisions for the GAO to oversee federal government efforts to respond to COVID-19. Among its objectives, this report reviews the Treasury Department’s efforts to complete the SSBCI’s key implementation steps, manage program risks, and measure program performance.

GAO reviewed relevant legislation and SSBCI documents and analyzed Treasury data on funds allocated and disbursed. GAO also interviewed Treasury Department officials, four regional representatives, and a non-generalizable sample of 12 state and his three tribal governments.

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