Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Joined by Sen. Dorgan, Franken Proposes New Lifeline for Minnesota Small Businesses

Joined by Sen. Byron Dorgan [D - N.D.] and two local small-business owners, DFL U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken [D-Minn.] today offered a new proposal to unfreeze credit for Minnesota small businesses. His initiative is part of an economic recovery plan designed to create jobs and help Minnesota families in these tough economic times.

Franken unveiled the plan today at a news conference, joined by Dorgan and two local entrepreneurs:

* Mallard Teal is the owner of Payne Ave. Body Shop. A small-business loan enabled him to renovate his storefront and expand his business.

* Mary Leonard is the owner of Chocolat Celeste. She applies for a seasonal loan each year to expand production and hire additional employees for the busy Christmas season -- but this year, has been unable to acquire that capital.

"George Bush and Norm Coleman just don't get it: giveaways to the special interests and tax cuts for millionaire CEOs don't create jobs," Franken declared. "Small businesses create jobs. And, while Washington rushed to bail out huge corporations on Wall Street, we're going to lose jobs here in Minnesota if we don't do something to unfreeze credit for our small businesses. My proposal will ensure that folks like Mallard and Mary can continue to grow their operations and get our economy moving again."

Dorgan wholeheartedly agreed. "Al and I both opposed the bailout because it didn't protect taxpayers by adding in provisions to make sure this type of meltdown would not happen again," he said. "Al Franken is now proposing smart ideas to get this economy moving. We need him in the Senate to help fight for the middle class and stand up to the special interests."

Franken's proposal generates $4 billion for direct loans to small businesses through the Small Business Administration [SBA], and adds another $1 billion to the SBA's loan guaranty programs. It also simplifies the process of obtaining these loans; eliminates associated fees; and expands the network of lenders to increase liquidity and secure better loan rates for small businesses.

The initial $5 billion investment will be repaid by small businesses, resulting in no net cost to taxpayers over time. But Franken called for the $5 billion upfront cost to be paid for, in the short term, by taking it out of the $700 billion earmarked for the bailout package, or by eliminating unwarranted and excess stock-option deductions on executive compensation.

SOURCE: Al Franken for U.S. Senate

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