With all due respect to Representative William L. Owens of New York, H.R. 3779 (also called the `Small Business Growth and Federal Accountability Act of 2012') reads like the prologue to a really good horror flick. The difference is instead of wacky teenagers who have no jobs for the summer deciding to spend it at Camp Crystal Lake, the victims of this horror-fest will be federal agencies and the small businesses supporting them.
I firmly believe the intent is well-founded, but creating punitive measures based on funding that goes to agency business operations or missions, just adds a very big spark to a highly combustible situation, in my humble opinion.
Here's how the story begins: To hold accountable Federal departments and agencies that fail to meet goals relating to the participation of small business concerns in procurement contracts, to authorize Federal departments and agencies to give preference to small business concerns when procuring goods or services, and for other purposes.
Not a bad start. I like accountability, and preference is always a good thing.
It continues: Consequence for Failure To Meet Goal - If a Federal department or agency does not meet a covered goal with respect to a fiscal year, that department or agency, in the succeeding fiscal year, may not expend for the procurement of goods or services an amount that is greater than 90 percent of the amount expended for the procurement of goods or services in the fiscal year with respect to which that department or agency did not meet the covered goal.
Okay, now you lost me.
When I read that "consequence" part, I envision the crazy dude with the hockey mask and machete collection chasing agency CFO and CAO types around the House floor as they frantically try to get away from the big blade that's aiming to lop off ten percent of their budgets. As a result of this massacre, these agencies do even less business with small contractors the next fiscal year. Why? Because they lost ten percent of their budget for not meeting small business goals. We also end up with more small businesses as chalk outlines and agencies focused on the negative of trying to avoid the slashing blades of the Capitol Hill versions of Jason, Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers (the Halloween one, not the comedian) trying to slice off chunks of their budgets.
Frankly, I don't see how this will benefit the agencies or small business.
The Chief Visionary
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."
To show you how insane the execution of the federal budget really is, I recently had a student in one of my federal acquisition training classes ask about best practices and performance-bsaed contracting. The question was really about the incentives for saving money. Why should the government save money, when the cost-savings from effective contract management actually creates a punishment since they did not spend all the allocated money? Here come the axe to cut the budget even further? Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers are already busy enough it seems.