WASHINGTON — Several small-business proposals within a recent economic stimulus package within a bill being discussed in the senate are designed to help alleviate the credit crunch, providing help to entrepreneurs stressed by a worsening economic climate.
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), a senior member of the Senate Committee on Banking, are urging their Republican colleagues to put politics aside in support of the package.
“As the lifeblood of our economy, small-business owners bear much of the burden when our system struggles,” says Kerry. “To keep our economy moving we need to help these everyday Americans who are pleading for help as they try to pay their bills and stock their shelves for the holiday season.”
The stimulus package provides $620 million to help businesses gain greater access to the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) loan programs, which many firms utilize to free up credit. Of that money, $615 million would temporarily eliminate fees charged to borrowers and lenders who participate in these government-backed programs, helping to support $22.5 billion in loans to entrepreneurs. In addition, $1 million is provided to support $8.5 million in microloans and $4 million for microloan counseling. These actions give small businesses more outlets for help and allow them to create and retain jobs.
“Small businesses are looking to us for immediate help and leadership,” says Kerry. “Entrepreneurs can’t afford to wait another month, or more, for the rescue package to begin working. And frankly, neither can our economy or the hundreds of thousands in need of jobs.”
“With the credit markets tighter than ever and the economy plunging into greater turmoil every day, we need every tool in the toolbox to ensure small businesses across the country get the loans they need,” says Schumer. “For many right now, government loans could be the only option. Our plan will reduce needless fees and streamline the process so businesses don’t have to wait months and pay through the nose to get the lines of credit they need.”