Small businesses are the heart of the Sacramento and our nation's economy. We rely on small businesses to create jobs, develop innovative products, and provide necessary services -- and our region's economic vitality hinges on their success. But the financial meltdown and subsequent recession has exacerbated the challenges facing small business owners, specifically in regards to accessing loans and capital. That is why I have been working hard with my colleagues in Congress to provide small businesses with the support they need to succeed.
Congress passed H.R. 5297, the Small Business Jobs Act in 2010, which was subsequently signed into law by President Obama. This important legislation contains new tax cuts in addition to the eight tax cuts for small businesses already passed by this Congress over the last two years. This measure will expand much-needed lending to small businesses and offer tax incentives to help these businesses continue to operate, grow, and hire. In total, the bill will leverage up to $300 billion in private sector lending for small businesses along with state grants for small business lending, and includes $12 billion in tax cuts for small businesses.
The Affordable Care Act, H.R. 3590 (the new health care law), which passed with my support, has already had an effect on Sacramento businesses through both the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit and the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program. The Small Business Health Care Tax Credit helps small businesses afford the cost of covering their workers by providing a credit worth up to 35 percent of small business' premium costs in 2010. Beginning in 2014, this credit will increase to up to 50 percent of premium costs. The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program provides financial assistance to employers that offer continued health benefits to employees who retire before becoming eligible for Medicare. This program is especially beneficial to small businesses, and many such businesses owners in Sacramento have already been awarded these grants.
I also voted to pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which contains job-creating tax incentives to spur hiring of out-of-work Americans, as well as tax credits and accelerated write offs for small businesses. For more information about how the Recovery Act could help your business, please consult the U.S. Small Business Administration.
These measures will have a tangible, positive impact on small business and our economy. However, I believe that there remains room for improvement in providing incentives and support to small businesses -- specifically proving them with much needed access to capital and loans. To this end, I recently introduced the Small Business Clean Energy Financing Act, which will increase lending to small businesses in the clean energy sector.
In addition to supporting these vital pieces of legislation in Congress, I have taken steps to encourage small business growth here in Sacramento, including hosting a "Small Business Access to Capital Workshop" in conjunction with the Sacramento Small Business Administration. This clinic was an opportunity for small business owners to learn directly from lenders on how to competitively position themselves for loans.
The loan-focused "Small Business Access to Capital Workshop" was an expansion of my successful series of "Small Business Opportunities Workshops" in Sacramento. Attended by over 700 local small businesses, these workshops helped connect local small businesses with federal funding opportunities.
I am taking steps every day to help Sacramento business owners both stay in business, and gain access to the capital they need to develop, grow, and hire new workers. I am committed to continuing to help support Sacramento businesses by making sure they have the resources they need to succeed.