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BPW applauds small business bill

The long-awaited small business legislation has been passed by the Senate and will go back to the House for final approval and then to the President for his signature. The legislation, Small Business Jobs Act, H.R. 5297 makes more capital available to small business and increases access to federal contracts.

Locally, the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation (BPW) applauds the passage of the bill. “This legislation is vital because it makes capital available to small businesses and increases access to federal contracts,” said Deborah Frett, CEO of BPW Foundation. “This is very good news for the one in eleven women who now own their own businesses and are looking to expand and hire. It will also encourage women to leverage their expertise and start businesses, including women veterans.”

“Small businesses, especially women-owned small businesses, are key to this country’s economic recovery, and they will benefit from this much needed assistance,” Frett continued. “This significant legislation contains a number of provisions that will benefit women-owned small businesses including the establishment of a $30 billion fund for community banks, much needed tax deductions, restored parity to the small business contracting programs, and fixes for contract bundling and subcontracting issues for federal contractors.”

According to BPW, Women-owned firms represented 30% of all U.S. businesses; between 1997 and 2004, the number of women-owned firms increased by 17% nationwide— twice the rate of all firms. However, the share of women-owned small business prime contract awards (in dollar terms) has only grown a little over two percent in the last thirty years: it was 3.68% in FY 2009. Women-owned businesses continue to face challenges, including access to capital, access to markets, and access to training and technical assistance.

In a larger scope, the bill’s passage has also been endorsed by the National Small Business Association (NSBA), which lobbied in support of its passage.

“America’s small businesses have been struggling for more than two years now,” stated Todd McCracken, NSBA president. “This legislation comes not a moment too soon and will provide myriad avenues of help for small businesses.”

According to NSBA, the bill:

• Will stimulate lending to small businesses via small- and mid-sized community banks, and through the extension of the highly-successful SBA stimulus lending programs.

• Provides some meaningful tax breaks, including an extension of the bonus depreciation and expanded Section 179 expensing.

• Allows self-employed individuals to deduct the full cost of their health insurance from their self-employment taxes for 2010—a key NSBA priority for many years.

NSBA reports, “Unfortunately, the Senate failed to act on a much-needed repeal of an expanded 1099 reporting provision passed under the new health care reform law. This provision would increase the average number of firms for which small-businesses must file a 1099 report from an average of 10 to an average of 86. Furthermore, it will hamper business-to-business transactions as firms look to ease the new requirement by consolidating business purchases, giving big-box companies an inherent advantage over small businesses.

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