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Skelton says several recent SBA bills will boost small business lending
Skelton says several recent SBA bills will boost small business lending

Congressman Ike Skelton
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 1, 2009) — Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy, creating millions of jobs throughout America. This is especially true in Missouri’s Fourth Congressional District, where small business jobs dominate the economic landscape. That is why I have worked so hard through the years to strengthen small businesses and to open their doors to federal government contracting opportunities.

Small business expansion and development generate jobs that will help lift the economy out of the doldrums. That is why Congress has been working to boost small business lending. The economic stimulus bill that was enacted in February 2009 authorized more than $650 million to support small business lending. The law also made changes to Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs, temporarily increasing the SBA loan guarantee from 75 percent up to a maximum of 90 percent and suspending some loan fees for borrowers.

The House of Representatives has also approved H.R. 3854, the Small Business Financing and Investment Act, legislation to extend the small business lending programs created by the economic stimulus bill and to modernize most SBA capital access programs. This measure, which I cosponsored and which passed the House on a bipartisan vote of 389 to 32, would also increase the size of the loan SBA can offer and create the Rural Lender Outreach Program, which reduces application burdens for small business borrowers, increases loan guarantees, and encourages banks to lend to rural entrepreneurs. Also, the legislation would also promote veteran-owned businesses.

I am also a cosponsor of H.R. 2672, the Help Veterans Own Franchises Act, which would help veterans become small business owners by incentivizing franchisors to offer veterans franchise owners discounted franchise fees. This legislation would represent a win-win for the American people by stimulating job growth while also welcoming veterans into the small business community.

In addition to helping our returning veterans start a business, there may be other men and women who have lost their jobs or have the ideas and experience who have the know-how to start their own small company. For this reason I have cosponsored H.R. 1552, the Small Business Formation and Job Creation Act. This bill would raise the new business start-up tax deduction from $5,000 to $20,000, thereby reducing a key barrier for potential entrepreneurs. The increased deduction would free up capital that can be utilized to create jobs, re-invest, and grow the economy.

Also, because the federal estate tax is often a challenge for small business owners and for farmers, I have cosponsored H.R. 3905, the Estate Tax Relief Act of 2009. This measure would phase in a $5 million estate tax exemption for single tax filers and set the estate tax rate on estates greater than this amount at 35 percent while preserving the so-called stepped up basis.

Small business jobs are important to the Fourth District, which is why I have worked so hard to strengthen this sector during my time in Congress. In the days ahead, I will closely monitor these matters and will continue working on behalf of small business entrepreneurs.

Congressman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) serves as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Congressman Skelton’s website is at www.house.gov/skelton.

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