Today, Congressman John Sarbanes voted to spur economic growth and create 500,000 new jobs by encouraging the development of American small businesses. The Small Business Jobs Act increases much-needed lending to millions of small businesses and offers eight new tax incentives to companies so that they may expand, hire and fuel our economy. It also keeps jobs in America by closing tax loopholes that reward corporations that ship jobs overseas.
Over the summer, Congressman Sarbanes walked the Main Streets of Maryland visiting more than 100 small business owners and discussing the challenges they face in this tough economy. Often, these are businesses with just a few employees that are being as creative as possible to weather current economic conditions -- stretching reserves to meet payroll, struggling to maintain inventory and making hard choices to avoid furloughs, layoffs and bankruptcy.
According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), in 2009, 45 percent of small businesses seeking loans were unable to get credit. Lenders are reporting that credit will remain tight through this winter (Federal Reserve Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey).
"Small business owners are the entrepreneurial backbone of our economy," said Congressman Sarbanes. "This bill will help ensure that small business owners have access to capital so they can grow their business and create jobs. No recovery is sufficient as long as a large number of Americans are unemployed and I will keep fighting to get our economy working for regular Americans."
The Small Business Jobs Act (H.R. 5297)
* Small Business Lending Fund: Creates a $30 billion Small Business Lending Fund to provide community banks with capital to increase small business lending. The fund is limited to the smallest banks, those holding $10 billion or less in assets, with key performance-based standards to incentivize those lenders that extend new credit to small businesses (decreasing the dividend rate banks pay as they increase small business lending).
* State Small Business Credit Initiative: Invests $1.5 billion in grants to support $15 billion in new small business lending through already successful state programs.
* SBA Lending Expansion: Expands access to and lowers costs for small business to access SBA loans and increases Small Business Administration (SBA) loan limits:
o Continues the small business lending program that eliminates fees charged for SBA loans [7(a) and 504 loans] and increases the government guarantees on 7(a) loans from 75 percent to 90 percent through the end of the year. Since its creation, this has supported over $26 billion in small business lending, which has helped to create or retain over 650,000 jobs.
o Raises the cap on small business loans to increase lending by $5 billion in the first year, increasing the 7(a) and 504 loan limits from $2 million to $5 million, 504 loan limits for manufacturing firms are increased to $5.5 million, Microloan limits are increased from $35,000 to $50,000 and SBA Express working capital loans are increased from $250,000 to $1 million.
* Spurs investors by giving 100 percent exclusion from capital gains taxes on small business investments.
* Reduces small business taxes by allowing them to carry back general business tax credits to offset their taxes from the previous five years. Small businesses will also be able to count the general business credits against the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), freeing up capital for expansion and job growth.
The bill is supported by National Small Business Association, Small Business Majority, National Retail Federation, National Restaurant Association, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Independent Community Bankers of America, American Bankers Association, Financial Services Roundtable, Business & Professional Women's Foundation, International Franchise Association, Motor & Equipment Manufacturers, and National Association for the Self-Employed.