A look back at some of the biggest small business stories from the past week, with a focus on Washington.

Obama pushes tax cuts, doesn’t budge on immigration

President Barack Obama didn’t budge on his push for comprehensive immigration reform, not a piecemeal approach. (PETE MAROVICH/EPA)

President Obama challenged lawmakers in the State of the Union to overhaul the tax system and improve infrastructure in ways that will bolster new and small businesses, but he didn’t budge on his bid for comprehensive immigration reform. Some entrepreneurs weren’t particularly pleased with his push to raise the minimum wage; others were pleased to see him emphasize green energy.

Senators revive the Startup Act

Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) and Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) last week reintroduced the Startup Act, which would create a new class of visa for entrepreneurs, modify the tax code to encourage investments in new businesses.

Sequestration threatens small firms on several levels

An unprecedented blow to government spending is scheduled to take effect in less than two weeks, and if policy makers fail to agree on a compromise, it would certainly mean fewer contracts available to small firms. But it could also hit small business lending.

Small business owners report slightly better outlook

Small business owners were slightly more optimistic about the economic climate last month than they were in December, according to the latest survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, but the readings are still hovering just above record lows.

Retail sales rise to start the year

Sales rose by the slimmest of margins during the first month of the year, according to the latest report from the Department of Commerce. The strongest gains were in general merchandise and department stores which both rose more than one percent.

Austin still tops for small business

Texas and North Carolina are home to half of the nation’s top eight cities for small businesses, according to new rankings compiled by The Business Journals. Austin topped the list for the fourth straight year, followed by Oklahoma City and Denver.

OSB business of the week: Hinge: Based in the District, the start-up has introduced a new spin on matchmaking by cutting out the middle man and connecting friends of friends directly through Facebook.

What are you keeping an eye on this week? Please let us know below.

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