Today, as the nation marks President Barack Obama's first 100 days in office, small businesses can celebrate the strides that Obama has made on our behalf -- primarily, via the landmark American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 [Recovery Act], which he signed into law on Feb. 17, 2009. It is an unprecedented effort to jump-start America's economy; create or save millions of jobs; and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges, so that our country can thrive in the 21st century.
The economic stimulus bill is an extraordinary response to a crisis unlike any since the Great Depression, and includes measures to modernize our nation's infrastructure; enhance energy independence; expand educational opportunities; preserve and improve affordable health care; provide tax relief; and protect those in greatest need.
Recovery Act Provides $730 Million to SBA
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration [SBA], the Recovery Act will have a significant impact on small businesses and on the credit crunch, providing tax incentives and financing opportunities that will help us create jobs.
The Recovery Act makes SBA part of the solution, providing it with specific tools to make it easier and less expensive for small businesses to get loans, give lenders new incentives to make more small business loans, and help unfreeze the secondary markets to boost liquidity in the credit markets.
More details on implementation will be coming during the next few weeks. For now, though, take note that the bill provides $730 million to SBA, and makes changes to the agency’s lending and investment programs so that they can reach more small businesses that need help.
The funding includes $375 million for temporarily eliminating fees on SBA-backed loans and raising SBA's guarantee percentage on some loans to 90 percent. The elimination of fees, announced on March 16, will remain in effect until the end of the calendar year or until the funding is exhausted. The elimination of fees is retroactive to the day the Recovery Act was signed into law.
Additional funding provisions include:
* $255 million for a new loan program to help small businesses meet existing debt payments
* $30 million for expanding SBA’s Microloan program -- enough to finance up to $50 million in new lending and $24 million in technical assistance grants to microlenders
* $20 million for technology systems to streamline SBA’s lending and oversight processes
* $15 million for expanding SBA’s Surety Bond Guarantee program
* $25 million for staffing up to meet demands for new programs
* $10 million for the SBA's Office of Inspector General
For more information about how SBA intends to implement Recovery Act funding, go to: http://www.sba.gov/recovery/information/index.html.
President Obama will conduct a prime-time news conference tonight on CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, MSNBC and CNBC at 7 p.m. CST. In case you miss watching and/or recording the live event, CNN will rebroadcast the news conference at 12 a.m. CST.
TIME photographer Callie Shell has compiled a fascinating collection of photos depicting President Obama's first 100 days in the Oval Office. Several are published in the May 4 issue of TIME magazine. You can also view the entire photo essay online at http://time.com/100days.
SOURCES: U.S. Small Business Administration, White House
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