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Published: Wednesday, 8/11/2010

Small business on hold

In Ohio, more than nine out of 10 manufacturing companies are run by small-business owners. Higher capital costs in the industry require higher loan limits for these entrepreneurs. A small-business lending bill that the U.S. Senate is scheduled to revisit in September is critical to expanding credit access and providing tax breaks for a sector of the economy vital to its recovery.

Small businesses create nearly two-thirds of new jobs. Strengthening companies that have been hit hard by a crippling recession should be a government priority. If political leaders could rush relief to Wall Street when it was reeling from the downturn, certainly they should not hesitate to speed aid to small-business owners who are valued job creators.

But shamefully, election-year politics scuttled what many members of Congress in both parties acknowledge is key to small businesses and manufacturers expanding operations and hiring workers. They desperately need more access to capital to grow and create jobs.

A Senate bill that would increase critical lending to small and medium-sized businesses, and provide further incentives with tax breaks, was blocked from coming to a vote by obstructionist Republicans. Washington lawmakers who hurried to put the nation's largest financial institutions back in the black with taxpayer support were apparently content to set aside financial lifelines to the small-business engines of job creation.

Never mind the crushing impact on the nation's 27 million small businesses. Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland said every manufacturing job generated by small-business owners in this state “indirectly supports five additional jobs in our economy.”

Those businesses would benefit from higher lines of credit and additional lending opportunities. Instead, they'll continue to bear the brunt of the financial crisis as traditional lenders persist in pulling back credit or denying loans.

The Senate bill, which would provide $12 billion in tax breaks and increase credit access for small business through a $30 billion loan fund, is set for a series of votes starting Sept. 14. It must not get bogged down by politics again.



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