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Posted at 11:53 AM ET, 01/31/2012

Obama offers plan to help small businesses, start-ups

A week after his State of the Union pledge to create a stronger economy, President Obama on Tuesday sent Congress a legislative package aimed at accelerating small business growth and removing roadblocks for start-ups.


President Barack Obama, sitting next to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, right, speaks during a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012. (Susan Walsh - Associated Press)

Obama’s proposals build on the administration’s year-old Startup America initiative and include eliminating taxes on capital gains for investments in small businesses, offering a 10 percent tax credit for companies that create jobs or increase wages this year and ending country-specific immigration caps in order to attract more high-skilled workers.

The administration believes the initiatives, which will be included in Obama’s fiscal 2013 budget in mid-February, could attract bipartisan support even in an election year. On Tuesday, Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) introduced legislation that would give small firms a larger slice of the federal contracting pie and hold government officials accountable for delivering their fair share of business to the nation’s smallest employers.

In announcing the legislation, the White House cited several similar bills offered in Congress, including ones from Republican lawmakers, and said it hopes “this momentum reinforces the opportunity for Congress to come together and pass bipartisan legislation without delay.”

In his State of the Union address last week and in other speeches, Obama has touted small businesses, saying they account for most of the nation’s jobs.

“One thing we’re trying to get Congress to do is pass some legislation, and there’s some bipartisan support for this, that just makes it easier for start-up companies to obtain financing,” Obama said Monday evening in an online chat, responding to a question from a small business owner. “That’s something we’re going to continue to focus on because if we can get more start-ups, more entrepreneurs, getting their ideas to market faster, that’s going to contribute to overall economic growth and job growth.”

The Obama administration stressed that the legislative package, which will cost about $48 billion, could be offset by the elimination of tax loopholes and writeoffs that the administration also will call for in its budget request.

Also this month, Obama asked Congress to give him the authority to restructure government agencies to streamline regulatory requirements for small businesses, and he elevated his Small Business Administration’s director to a cabinet-level position to emphasize his commitment.

By  |  11:53 AM ET, 01/31/2012

 
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