Last week Anita Campbell let us know about what happened at National Small Business Week and the Small Business Administration’s focus on the “3 C’s”: capital, contracts and counseling. There was so much said about the first “C”, capital, I thought it was worth a deeper look.
In her kickoff address SBA Administrator Karen Mills brought us up to date on the results from last year’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) which to date has lent $27 billion to small businesses. But as Mills said, “There’s more work to do.”
To that end, President Obama encouraged Congress to pass the Small Business Lending Fund Act. The House financial services committee has already approved parts of the bill and it will soon go before the full House and the Senate. Mills called the Act a “small business jobs plan.”
Here are some of the highlights of what this Act would do:
- Create a $30 billion lending fund which would go to the smaller community banks to loan to small businesses. (The money would come from TARP funds.)
- The State Small Business Credit Initiative would give money to cash-strapped state programs that help entrepreneurs.
- Further extend the SBA’s 90 percent loan guarantee on SBA-backed loans.
- Continue to waive fees for borrowers receiving SBA-backed loans.
- Temporarily increase SBA Express loans to $1 million, up from $350,000. This, said Mills, would “mean more small business owners will have quicker access to this source of capital to help restock inventories and support larger revenue sales, and literally take that next step to grow their business and create new jobs.”
- Temporarily allow small business owners to refinance their mortgages on owner-occupied commercial real estate.
- Permanently increase the maximum loan amounts of 7(a) and 504 loans to $5 million and microloans from $35,000 to $50,000.
- Eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses in 2010.
- Give business owners a tax credit for hiring unemployed workers.