SBE Council President & CEO Karen Kerrigan issued the following statement on President Obama's speech and the "American Jobs Act" that he outlined before a joint session of Congress last evening:
"We are pleased small business was featured prominently in the President's speech, and we look forward to reviewing the details of the American Jobs Act. Specifically, as it relates to the payroll tax cut for employers and various hiring credits aimed to boost hiring, we hope these provisions are not unduly complex or have conditions attached that may prevent small firms from fully utilizing these incentives.
"The extension of 100 percent business expensing through 2012 is a welcome move, however the short-term nature of this provision does not align with the longer-term approach that entrepreneurs take toward business planning. Short term extensions and incentives in general, especially during challenging economic periods, are less effective at stimulating investment.
"How these provisions and the other elements of the plan are paid for will also determine the proposal's overall impact on job creation and economic growth. If the plan is offset by tax increases on entrepreneurs, businesses or investors this will diminish the effectiveness of the President's plan. Sucking private capital out of a gasping, fragile economy is not a sound strategy for growth.
"Entrepreneurs we work with are happy to see the President supporting a proposal that SBE Council has been helping to advance through regulatory and legislative channels. The Administration has indicated it supports a 'crowdfunding' exemption from SEC registration requirements for firms raising less than $1 million. President Obama has also expressed interest in exploring Sarbanes-Oxley barriers that are preventing small firms from accessing the public markets, as well as raising the cap on mini-offerings from $5 million to $50 million. Entrepreneurs need access to growth capital, and modernizing SEC laws and regulations is imperative to helping small firms identify new sources of capital. (For more information about the crowdfunding exemption, you can review a recent media release on the issue by visiting: (http://www.sbecouncil.org/news/display.cfm?ID=4357)
"Unfortunately, the President did not broach the subject of fixing his health care law. The burdens and higher costs associated with ObamaCare are keeping small firms from hiring. The new law is driving health coverage costs higher for small businesses, and the unknowns relative to various provisions currently in the rulemaking or implementation stage continue to drive uncertainty. In addition, the President did not directly address the issue of new regulations in the pipeline and whether his Administration will take a more thoughtful approach to a system that is currently out of control. In fact, he seemed to defend the existing approach, which is a source of anxiety and concern for small business owners.
"I hope the President is open to ideas that will add value to his proposal. He needs to embrace a more collaborative approach with Congress - Republicans and Democrats alike - and consider their ideas to improve his plan. The President may get the 'jolt' desired if he includes legislative ideas that stem the tide of regulation, make permanent key tax provisions and fix the parts of the health care law that impose higher costs, taxes and new burdens on small businesses. Entrepreneurs and millions of Americans are hurting right now. This is a time for leadership, and we hope President Obama steps up to the challenge."
SBE Council Staff Post