Obama Stresses Importance Of Helping Small Businesses

U.S. President Barack Obama shone the spotlight on small businesses Tuesday when he addressed Congress.
U.S. President Barack Obama shone the spotlight on small businesses Tuesday when he addressed Congress.Obama highlighted federal action to create new lending streams for small businesses and entrepreneurs, calling it the "largest effort ever to help provide auto loans, college loans, and small business loans to the consumers and entrepreneurs who keep this economy running."

Obama promised to move quickly and aggressively to restore confidence and jump-start lending. He stressed that it's necessary to help U.S. banks in order for Americans to obtain credit and for small businesses to hire workers and grow.

"But I also know that in a time of crisis, we cannot afford to govern out of anger, or yield to the politics of the moment," he said. "My job -- our job -- is to solve the problem. Our job is to govern with a sense of responsibility. I will not spend a single penny for the purpose of rewarding a single Wall Street executive, but I will do whatever it takes to help the small business that can't pay its workers or the family that has saved and still can't get a mortgage. "

He also urged Congress to reform regulations to reward innovation and punish abuses and shortcuts. The nation's $787 billion economic stimulus package set aside $730 million for the Small Business Administration, which helps small businesses obtain loans.

It also contains grant programs, tax benefits, and other initiatives that could help small businesses. Businesses that drew less than $15 million in revenue are eligible for refunds by applying losses in 2008 and 2009 to the previous five years' taxable income, instead of the two years allowed before.

The package also provides $2.2 billion in grants for research through the Small Business Innovation Research and the Small Business Technology Transfer programs.

And, of course, plans to modernize agency's computer systems, boost local and state programs, expand broadband, and improve energy efficiency also could present opportunities for small businesses through government contracts.