Small Business Jobs Act: A Gift Horse?

A pretty package of goodies is finally within reach for the self-employed, signed into law by President Obama on September 27, 2010.  Chock full of extensions, expansions, deductions and funds, the new Small Business Jobs Act touts $12 billion in tax breaks and $30 billion in lending capital.

Upon signing the Act, the President remarked on the value of the small business owner, “They are part of the promise of America – the idea that if you’ve got a dream and you’re willing to work hard, you can succeed.”[i]

“The legislation passed the House 237-187 on a mostly party-line vote Thursday after clearing the Senate last week. It provides new tax breaks to small businesses, increases Small Business Administration lending limits, waives SBA loans fees and provides banks with $30 billion in new capital to increase lending to small businesses,” reported USAToday, September 24.

Some of the “goodies” include an additional eight new small business tax cuts effective immediately, providing incentives to invest, according to the White House.gov blog post on the day the Act was signed. Another perk, as stated on the White House blog, allows the Small Business Administration to extend the “Successful SBA Recovery Loan Provisions,” claiming that “these provisions provides the capacity to support $14 billion in loans to small businesses.”

But many are skeptical. House Reps from both parties, including Rep. Nydia Velazquez, chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee, cited the “absence of a requirement to use money in the $30 billion loan fund for small-business lending.”[ii]

Republican Senator Charles Grassley, responsible for writing a large portion of the Bill, voted against it, saying it is “just like the big TARP program that’s been badly mismanaged.”[iii]

The main apprehension for both those who opposed the Bill and would-be recipients of its benefits seems to lie in the looming expiration of tax rates on January 1, 2011. No matter how it is packaged and marketed by the White House, the Small Business Jobs Act faces the same challenges as does other legislation passed by the Obama Administration: a weak economy, big corporation hording funds, lack of consumer spending and reluctant lenders.

Is this Bill as pretty as it looks? It remains to be seen. As a small business owner in need of capital, I’m sure I join many who are wary of looking this gift horse in the mouth.


[i] The White House Blog

[ii] Congress sends small business bill to Obama

[iii] Writing the Jobs Bill – And Opposing It, Too

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