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President Obama addressed the nation's concerns over the sluggish economy, healthcare, and small business government help last night. As reported by U.S. News & World Report, President Obama promised a new tax credit for small businesses, more money for small business lending, and rallied against big banks for not stepping up their lending to small businesses.
In the speech itself, we can see how many times President Obama actually addresses small business owners. He started by saying that most Americans are angry that Wall Street is being rewarded while Main Street is still struggling: "They don't understand why it seems like bad behavior on Wall Street is rewarded, but hard work on Main Street isn't, or why Washington has been unable or unwilling to solve any of our problems."
He told small business owners everywhere that he cut taxes: "We cut taxes for small businesses." He also said that the government's focus in 2010 will be small business because that is where jobs come from: "We should start where most new jobs do, in small businesses, companies that begin when an entrepreneur takes a chance on a dream or a worker decides it's time she became her own boss."
He also spoke of a new tax credit for small businesses: "I'm also proposing a new small-business tax credit, one that will go to over 1 million small businesses who hire new workers or raise wages."
He promised another tax credit for all businesses to invest in new equipment.
President Obama addressed the concern that small business owners had over reduced lending. To that end, he proposed a fund of $30 billion dollars to be set up. He said: "So tonight, I'm proposing that we take $30 billion of the money Wall Street banks have repaid and use it to help community banks give small businesses the credit they need to stay afloat."
While the speech seems encouraging, it still remains to be seen if this is what small businesses need. While the $30 billion dollar fund seems promising, we still need to see if the money comes with too many string attached.
Raymond Keating, the chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, told U.S. News & World Report: "Do you want to go down the path of having the government come in and give you money with all the strings?" he asks. "Frankly, I'm not quite sure a lot of banks want to go down that path."
While that may be true, there were still offers of tax incentives and jobs expansion that seem promising enough. Make sure to stay tuned to other small business responses to President Obama's State of the Union address coming soon.