Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today applauded the Senate's cloture vote that brings us one step closer to passing wide-ranging aid to America's small businesses. The Small Business Jobs Act will help small businesses grow and create jobs by making it easier for them to access necessary capital. Many of the bill's job-creating provisions were originally initiated by Senator Kerry when he chaired the Small Business Committee.
"This bill provides vital aid to the small businesses that can create jobs in these tough economic times," Senator Kerry said. "Plenty of small businesses are ready to hire new workers, but need access to capital to make it happen. This legislation will make it a little easier for small businesses across the country to access credit, and that's something I've been fighting to make happen for years."
To assist small business owners and their employees, The Small Business Jobs Act will create jobs through a combination of much-needed tax credits, enhancements to Small Business Administration (SBA) lending programs, and the development of new community bank lending facilities. It will extend successful loan enhancement provisions initiated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that have supported more than $30 billion in lending to small businesses across the country and helped create or retain more than 710,000 jobs. SBA lending in Massachusetts has nearly doubled in the past year as a result of this program.
The jobs bill targets the unique needs of small businesses and community banks, giving them the tools they need to help sustain our economic recovery. The bill is fully paid for.
The Small Business Jobs Act includes the following provisions originally proposed by Senator Kerry including:
* encouraging investment in small businesses by allowing investors to exclude the gains from the sale of certain small business stock from their income for tax purposes if the stock is held for more than five years. This policy helps small business owners access more private capital to finance an expansion and hire new workers. Senator Kerry has advocated this reform for years, most recently introducing the Invest in Small Business Act of 2009;
* making credit more available to small businesses by increasing the maximum loan limits for several Small Business Administration loan programs. The bill increases 7(a) loan limits from $2 million to $5 million and 504 loans from $1.5 million to $5.5 million. Senator Kerry proposed increasing these loan limits in 2007 and 2008;
* extending the Small Business Administration's authority to reduce fees on small business 7(a) and 504 loans obtained through the SBA. These fee reductions were initially funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Senator Kerry proposed reducing these loan fees in 2008; AND
* providing for low interest refinancing so that businesses can use 504 loan guarantees to refinance existing business debt, if it is current, even if the business is not expanding. Senator Kerry made a similar proposal in 2008.
* ending the widely ignored treatment of cell phones and similar devices as an executive fringe perk by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The law currently requires employers to keep constant, detailed written logs of every phone call, text, and email employees send or make. The Small Business Jobs Act includes the Modernize Our Bookkeeping In the Law for Employee's Cell Phone Act, better known as the MOBILE Cell Phone Act, that Kerry introduced in 2008 and 2009 along with Senator John Ensign (R-Nev.).