Small business aid program threatened with closure
By: Melinda Deslatte, October 8, 2014 Shreveporttimes.com
BATON ROUGE – Lawmakers and business leaders are pressing Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration to pledge the financing needed to keep open a 25-year-old program that helps small businesses apply for government contracts.
The state investment needed to save the Louisiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center, known as PTAC, is small — about $185,000 in a $25 billion state budget.
But supporters of the center said they have been unable to get commitments from the Jindal administration, with time running out before the program will have to shutter its doors at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and its four counseling centers.
An application to keep the program going is due to federal officials by the end of October, but the program must be able to show it has the needed financing.
Rep. Walt Leger, D-New Orleans, the House’s second ranking member, said the program has helped businesses get billions of dollars in federal contracts and created thousands of jobs.
“It’s been a really successful tool for small businesses in our state,” Leger said. “It just seemed to me to be a small amount of money to leverage.”
Jindal’s chief budget adviser, Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols, didn’t offer a financing plan Wednesday, but issued a statement saying the administration supports the program.
“PTAC provides a valuable service to Louisiana businesses and we will work with the Legislature on options to secure the funding,” she said.
For help with Government Contracting: contact your nearest Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). Funded through Cooperative Agreements between the U.S. Department of Defense and state and local governments/institutions, PTACs provide free and low-cost assistance in virtually all areas of government contracting.