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Pioneer Editorial: Bolstering U.S. small businesses

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Two of every three jobs created in America come from small business. Yet, in this Great Recession, small businesses lost 2.4 million jobs from the middle of 2007 through the end of 2008.

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During this week, National Small Business Week, it is proper to acknowledge the role that small businesses play in our economy, and also to encourage their growth as much as possible.

President Barack Obama on Tuesday outlined several initiatives that he wants passed by Congress to aid small business retention and growth -- on top of several current programs enacted to bolster the small business economy.

Last year, seven tax cuts were enacted for small business, as well as the Making Work Pay tax credits that went to the majority of small business owners. So far, the federal economic stimulus package has supported more than 64,000 loans to small businesses, resulting in $27 billion in new lending. The president noted that more than 1,200 banks and credit unions that had stopped making Small Business Administration loans when the financial crisis started are now lending again. And more than $8 billion in federal stimulus monies are going to small businesses.

Recent provisions gave additional tax incentives to small business, such as having businesses eligible for tax cuts when they hire unemployed workers and allowing them to write off more of their investments in new equipment. The new federal health care reform package also provides tax credits to small business.

It's important to keep support flowing to small businesses, which are the cornerstone of the nation's economy.

The president is asking Congress to approve $30 billion for a Small Business Lending Fund to target only small community and neighborhood banks to increase their lending to small businesses. The second initiative creates a new state small business credit program that will help the states expand private lending for small businesses and manufacturers. This comes at a time when budget shortfalls are causing states to cut back on lending programs.

"This is an issue that involves putting government on the side of small business owners who create most of the jobs in this country," said President Obama. "It's about giving them tax credits and loans and tax cuts so they can keep growing and keep hiring. It's about unleashing the great power of our economy and the ingenuity of our people."

Small businesses have always fueled the American economy, from the bottom up, and their growth and sustainability must be bolstered in order to continue our climb out of the Great Recession. Congress should act swiftly to enact the current small business jobs package to continue small business growth.

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