Small Business is the Buzzword in Washington

Dec 4, 2012

It's crunch time in Washington - lawmakers trying to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff" are brainstorming to pull the country out of recession - Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

Credit WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

It's a critical time of year for many small businesses who are big drivers of the nation's economy. While keeping a close eye on holiday receipts, a coalition of some of America's corporate leaders are speaking up as Congress attempts to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff." David Levine is C-E-O of the American Sustainable Business Council: He says allowing tax breaks to expire for the wealthy will not hurt business.

Pointing to a decade's worth of tax breaks for the top income tiers that did little to grow the economy, the Council asks Congress to focus on the middle class to help smaller businesses, which Levine says grow 70 percent of the nation’s jobs. Levine says it’s vital that lawmakers stop the "fiscal cliff" automatic tax increases for middle-income Americans, which he says could have a drastically negative impact on small and mid-size businesses. He notes nearly 700 small-business leaders have now signed on in support of ending tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent.

Meantime, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is pushing legislation to help jumpstart lending to small businesses - she's learned from entreprenurs "it takes money to make money"-Gillibrand is promoting the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act that would enable credit unions to lend up to 27.5 percent of total assets by establishing a tiered process that would increase their business lending in a safe and responsible way. She says there is a companion bill in the house.

Credit unions are currently restricted by a statutory cap of 12.25 percent.  Gillibrand says the Act could result in 11-thousand new jobs in New York alone.

In the Capital Region, there are 39 credit unions with over 500-thousand members and the estimated increase in lending potential is $127 million dollars.

In the Hudson Valley, there also are 39 credit unions with nearly 600-thousand members and the estimated increase in lending potential is $234 Million Dollars.