The Small Business Administration is setting up an IT working capital fund

Maria Roat speaks March 28, 2019, at the IT Modernization Summit presented by FedScoop. (FedScoop)

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The Small Business Administration is now setting up a working capital fund for IT modernization, CIO Maria Roat said Thursday, making it one of the first agencies to put the new capability into action.

“That finally came through for us — so we’re able to stand up our own working capital fund where we weren’t able to do that before,” Roat said at FedScoop’s IT Modernization Summit. The funds allow agencies to set aside unspent annual appropriations for long-term IT investments — a big change from the traditional “use it or lose it” rush at the end of each fiscal year.

The Modernizing Government Technology Act of 2017 provided the general authorization for agencies to create their funds, but Roat was referring specifically to Section 533 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019, which became law in February. The legislation specified that SBA can transfer to the fund up to 3 percent of any appropriation made by Congress to its “Salaries and Expenses” or “Business Loans Program” accounts.

Roat didn’t specify how much money SBA initially plans to send to the fund.

The December 2018 Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) scorecard says the Department of Labor has a working capital fund, too. The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture say they have plans to set up IT working capital funds in 2019 or 2020.

The MGT Act also set up the Technology Modernization Fund, a central pot of money that agencies can apply for “seed funding” from for specific IT modernization projects. Roat serves on the inter-agency board that oversees the dispersal of these funds, which agencies are required to pay back.

Thus far, the TMF board has awarded $90 million of the $100 million appropriated for the fund in fiscal 2018. The pot got a further $25 million under the February appropriations bill.

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IT Modernization, Maria Roat, MGT Act, Small Business Administration, working capital funds
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