Putting small business first (Rep. Chris Van Hollen)

The centerpiece of this pro-growth legislation is a $30 billion lending fund for community banks serving small businesses.  With 45 percent of small businesses unable to get their credit needs met in 2009, this kind of initiative — which can leverage up to $300 billion in new private sector lending — is critical to getting our principal job generators the financing they need to expand their payrolls at a time when jobs are what our economy needs most.  The small business lending fund is broadly supported by organizations ranging from the Small Business Majority to the Independent Community Bankers of America, and, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, will actually reduce the deficit by $1 billion over ten years as participating banks repay their loans with interest.  This package of pro-business measures also proposes a zero percent capital gains rate for investments made in qualified small businesses and a fourfold increase in the available deduction for entrepreneurs’ start up expenses – fiscally responsible ideas that should be enacted without anymore delay.

The 111th Congress and the Obama administration have already enacted eight separate tax cuts for small businesses — including doubling the amount that businesses can immediately write off for purchases of new equipment in 2009 and 2010, allowing small businesses to carry back net operating losses from 2008 and 2009 for five years instead of two, and providing a payroll tax holiday to businesses that hire unemployed workers through the end of the year.  Additionally, the health care reform law provides an unprecedented $40 billion in assistance to small businesses who choose to offer their employees health care coverage, and the recently enacted financial regulatory overhaul will ensure that small businesses on Main Street will never again have to bail out recklessness and irresponsibility on Wall Street.

Consistent with Democrats’ commitment to fiscal responsibility, many of these proposals have been responsibly paid for by eliminating loopholes in current law that perversely encourage U.S. multinationals to invest capital and create jobs overseas.  Surely as Americans we can all agree that our tax code should incentivize job creation here at home – not shipping jobs offshore. 

In my role as Assistant to the Speaker, I have the pleasure to work with all of our new and second term members and I’m pleased that they have been front and center in these efforts.  A total of twelve serve on the Small Business Committee.  They are utilizing new and innovative ways of reaching out to small business owners and employees in their districts.  Through this work period they have been hosting small business workshops and holding roundtables with business owners and employees to get fresh ideas to help small businesses lead the economic recovery.  These Members have consistently demonstrated their commitment to small businesses by sponsoring legislation to reduce small business taxes, improve their ability to get credit, and reduce bureaucratic red-tape.  They will not stop working until the economy fully recovers.                

Going forward, Democrats’ “Make It In America” agenda, aimed at expanding domestic manufacturing and driving homegrown innovation, will continue to make the needs of small business owners a priority.  By way of example, the recently enacted U.S. Manufacturing Enhancement Act — supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers — will make it cheaper for small businesses to source the materials they need to manufacture their products at home by eliminating tariffs that had been making those materials needlessly expensive. And with significant near term opportunities for small businesses across the economy — including sectors like clean energy, biotechnology, health information technology, broadband, and infrastructure — we’re just getting started.

The Small Business Jobs and Credit Act awaiting action in the Senate is part of an ongoing and broader Democratic policy commitment to small businesses and the jobs they create.  Americans looking for work and small businesses looking to hire them can’t afford to wait any longer.


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