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Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of the Small Business Lending Fund Act of 2010 and urge its adoption without any further delay.
Small businesses are the engine of our economy. They employ half of all private sector workers and have been responsible for nearly two-thirds of net job creation over the past fifteen years. Recent economic data showing eight straight months of private sector job growth is an encouraging sign, but more needs to be done to support our small business job generators and keep the economy moving in the right direction.
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 small businesses the financing they need to expand their payrolls at a time when jobs are what our economy needs most. Small Business Administration loan limits are increased. SBA borrowing fees are reduced or eliminated. And the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects that the lending fund itself will actually reduce the deficit by $1 billion over ten years as participating banks repay their loans with interest.
H.R. 5297 also delivers a potent package of timely tax relief to the small business sector. As a result of today's legislation, up to $500,000 worth of capital investment in equipment and machinery acquired in 2010 and 2011 can be immediately written off. General business credits can be carried back five years instead of one and won't be subject to the AMT. The available deduction for entrepreneurs' start-up expenses is doubled from $5,000 to $10,000, and direct equity investment in small businesses will receive a zero percent capital gains rate for qualifying investments made this year.
Madam Speaker, although I might personally have prioritized a slightly different set of offsets, this legislation is nevertheless fully paid for and as a package deserves our support.
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