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Ex-senator leads Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations

Thursday, August 18, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Rhette Baughman
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Ex-senator leads Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations

Phoenix Business Journal - by Kent Hoover , Washington Bureau Chief
Date: Friday, August 12, 2011, 9:18am MST

WASHINGTON -- The National Federation of Independent Business has launched Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations, an advocacy campaign chaired by former U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, an Arkansas Democrat.

NFIB President and CEO Dan Danner said the purpose of the campaign is to "give greater voice to small businesses who are being crushed by new regulations in an already difficult economy.”

The effort, which will focus on six states initially, will use the personal stories of small-business owners to explain how existing regulations -- and fear of new regulations coming down the pike -- are making businesses hesitant to hire more workers and expand their operations.

"Small businesses have long carried a disproportionate share of the federal regulatory burden,” Lincoln said. "While some regulation is essential, there are more than 4,200 new environmental, financial, labor and other regulations pending at the federal level today.”

These pending rules "are causing uncertainty and ultimately harming small businesses and their ability to create jobs,” she said. "This is simply unsustainable in our struggling economy.”

NFIB would like the federal government to do independent analyses of the impact their regulations have on jobs and economic growth.

Recent surveys of NFIB members have shown regulations rank among their top three concerns, along with poor sales and taxes. That’s the highest ranking for regulations among small-business concerns since the 1980s, Danner said.

He said Lincoln is "a long, long friend of small businesses,” and Lincoln said NFIB is "a great group that I’ve worked with in the past.” She is a former member of the Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee.

NFIB’s effort comes a month after the U.S. Chamber of Commerce tapped retired Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., and Andy Card, who served as chief of staff for President George W. Bush, to go on a road show promoting regulatory reform.

Small-business indicators fall for fifth consecutive month

An index of small-business indicators fell in July for the fifth month in a row, thanks to pessimism among business owners about future sales and business conditions.

The National Federation of Independent Business’ Small Business Optimism Index dropped by nearly 1 point, to 89.9, below its average reading over the past two years.

"Expectations for growth are low and uncertainty is great,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg, citing "the current political climate, the protracted debate over how to handle the nation’s debt and spending, and now this latest development of the debt downgrade.”

Despite low interest rates and tax breaks for business investment, only 20 percent of small-business owners plan capital outlays over the next three to six months, according to the survey. That’s a recession-level reading, according to NFIB. Only 2 percent of small-business owners plan to create new jobs in the coming months.

Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., who chairs the House Small Business Committee, said Washington can encourage small businesses to expand "by reducing burdensome regulations, reforming our tax code, quickly passing free trade agreements, and addressing our out-of-control federal debt.”

"Entrepreneurship and small-business growth is the solution to the most significant problem that our economy is facing: unemployment,” he said. "However, Washington must help provide an environment for this type of growth and then get out of the way so the private sector can thrive.”

SBA taps community organizations for small-business loan program

The U.S. Small Business Administration loaned money to 20 community organizations that will use the funds to finance small businesses in underserved markets.

The new Intermediary Lending Pilot Program was created by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.

"Partnering with community lenders will increase points of access to capital for startups and businesses that have been disproportionately affected by the recession,” said SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns.

The community groups will make loans of up to $200,000 to small businesses.

Small Business Lending Fund adds capital to 20 more banks

The U.S. Treasury Department has provided 20 more community banks with $253 million in capital through the Small Business Lending Fund.

The program, created by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, is designed to encourage community banks to increase their lending to small businesses by providing them with cheap capital. So far, 43 community banks have received nearly $600 million in SBLF funding.

"These funds will help unlock credit for Main Street entrepreneurs to support private-sector growth and job creation,” said Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin.

Recipients in this third round of SBLF funding ranged from Farmers State Bankshares in Holton, Kan., which received $700,000 in capital, to Liberty Bancshares in Jonesboro, Ark., which received $52.5 million.

Ex-Im Bank breaks record for loan authorizations

The U.S. Export-Import Bank has set a record for loan authorizations, topping $24.5 billion with nearly two months to go in its fiscal year.

The financing, which includes more than 2,500 transactions with small businesses, supported more than $31.5 billion in export sales and 213,000 jobs, according to Ex-Im Bank.

The independent federal agency provides working capital guarantees, export credit insurance and financing to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services. Fees and interest on its loans cover the agency’s operational expenses and loan losses.


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