Last week, the Obama Administration announced that it is taking a series of “immediate actions to help small businesses” survive and thrive in the challenging economic conditions we, as a nation, continue to find ourselves in. But many small business owners are left wondering if Obama’s efforts are either immediate or enough to make any significant difference.
Many are quick to point out that some of the initiatives included in the supposedly new package were part of an already established executive order. Others, maintain that most of these moves will only benefit a relatively miniscule population of small companies, such as construction contractors.
Here’s a quick rundown of the Obama Administration’s small business initiatives:
- Paying government contractors quicker in hope that “those prime contractors will similarly accelerate payments to their small business subcontractors.”
- Recommend that Section 179 expensing remains at $250,000 for one year. This will allow small businesses to write off up to $250,000 in capital investments in 2013. If the extension is not approved by Congress then the expensing limit for small businesses is scheduled to decline to only $25,000 in 2013.
- Re-launch the SBA’s Small Loan Advantage program (now called SLA 2.0). Obama is pushing to raise the maximum amount a small business owner can request for an SBA loan from $250,000 to $350,000. Obama is also seeking to streamline the loan process, so it will be easier and quicker for lenders to extend loans to small businesses.
- For companies that need surety bond guarantees under $250,000 the SBA will be initiating the “QuickApp” streamlined application. This will reduce paperwork in the hope that small companies, particularly in the construction industry, will have an easier time competing for and winning additional business.
- Reduce paperwork for SBA’s Disaster Loan Program so that families and businesses will be able to more quickly and easily access support for rebuilding after a disaster.
- Make it easier for community development entities (CDEs) to bring in private investors for start-ups and small businesses operating in lower‐income communities by revamping the New Markets Tax Credit.
Will these moves truly help small businesses? I’m skeptical; but I guess only time will tell.