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Owens pushes small business goals

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WASHINGTON — Rep. William L. Owens plans to introduce legislation this week to try to jolt federal agencies into contracting with more small businesses.

Mr. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, is planning a bill that would cut agencies’ procurement budgets by 10 percent if they do not meet the federal mandate to set aside 23 percent of contracts to small businesses, said his spokesman, Sean Magers.

The bill, which may be introduced today, takes aim at agencies’s budgets in the subsequent year after they fail to meet the goal, Mr. Magers said.

The federal government regularly falls short of the goals, reported the National Association of Government Contractors, although the federal Small Business Administration reported progress toward the goal in 2010, coming less than a percentage point shy government-wide.

The government hasn’t taken the goals seriously enough, the NAGC complained.

“The government has interpreted the law as though it is an admirable goal — not a statutory requirement, the association complained on its website.

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