Business Group Offers 'Wish List' to Lawmakers

A small business advocacy group is asking lawmakers to include certain provisions in the much-talked about upcoming economic stimulus bill.

The National Small Business Association said the number of small business owners who believe the national economy is worse than it was five years ago jumped to 64 percent from 32 percent in August.

"Small business is the key to economic recovery -- creating 93.5 percent of all net new jobs in the last 20 years - yet throughout the economic slowdown and recession, small business continues to be hit with increasing difficulty accessing capital, wildly volatile credit card rates and terms and plummeting numbers" of some SBA loans, said association President Todd McCracken.

The lobbying group has outlined its wish list to lawmakers. Highlights are:

* Expanding Small Business Administration lending;

* Requiring banks receiving any future funding under the Troubled Asset Relief Program to dedicate at least 25 percent of those funds to expand small-business lending;

* Mandating that 23 percent of infrastructure stimulus funds be contracted to small firms;

* Abolishing self-employment tax on health insurance;

* Extending the amount of years that a business can carry back losses from two to five years for losses suffered in 2007, 2008 and 2009; and

* Reauthorizing the Small Business Innovation Research program and providing an additional $2.3 billion for small-business research and development and commercialization funding in fiscal 2009.

Meanwhile, business group Women Impacting Public Policy is calling for the economic stimulus package to include a $50 billion equity fund administered by the Small Business Administration for small and midsize business acquisitions.

Lawmakers are listening. On Wednesday, three top small business lawmakers introduced legislation to provide tax relief for small firms making investments in new equipment.

Last year, President Bush signed into law an economic stimulus bill allowing small businesses to expense up to $250,000 of their investments, including the purchase of new equipment through 2009. The bill introduced this week would amend tax code to increase small business expensing through 2010 and establish a five-year carryback for net operating losses.

By Sharon McLoone |  January 8, 2009; 7:30 AM ET Economy Watch , Policymakers , Regulation Legislation
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