“Small Businesses Are the Backbone of Our Economy and the Cornerstones of Our Communities”


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Today President Obama travelled to Seattle, Washington and met with three local small business owners, Senator Patty Murray and Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke in a roundtable discussion about strengthening the economy and creating jobs. The President met with Gillian Allen-White, owner of Grand Central Bakery in Seattle and Portland; Tiffany Turner, owner of the Discovery Coast Inn in Long Beach; and Joe Fugere, owner of Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria in Seattle.  

Small businesses create two out of every three new jobs in America.  During his remarks after the roundtable discussion, the President called small businesses “the backbone of our economy and the cornerstones of our communities,” and discussed the importance of supporting them during these tough economic times:

And that’s why, when I took office, we put in place an economic plan to help small businesses.  And Patty Murray was there every step of the way in us putting forward these initiatives.  At its heart was a simple idea:  While government can’t guarantee their success, government can knock down the barriers that stand in the way and help create the conditions to help small businesses grow and to hire. 

And that’s why we’ve passed eight tax cuts for America’s small businesses.  Tax cuts for hiring unemployed workers.  Tax cuts for investing in new equipment.  As part of health insurance reform, 4 million small business owners recently received a postcard in their mailboxes telling them that they could be eligible for a health care tax credit worth perhaps tens of thousands of dollars.  And I know that Tiffany and her husband are looking now about the possibility, because of these incentives, to be able to maybe provide health insurance to their workers.  Under the Recovery Act, we supported nearly 700 -- nearly 70,000 new loans to small businesses like Joe’s, and we waived fees on new SBA loans so people like Joe save money -- up to $20,000 with the SBA arrangement that Joe had.

While the measures already taken to support small business have helped, there is still more work to be done.  President Obama called on a small partisan minority in Congress to stop obstructing legislation that would provide tax credits for small businesses and help small business owners get loans:

Now, unfortunately, a partisan minority in the Senate has been standing in the way of giving our small businesspeople a simple up-or-down vote on this bill.  They won’t even let it go to vote.  And every day this obstruction goes on is another day a small business somewhere in the country can’t get a loan or can’t get the tax cuts that it needs to grow and to hire. 

I think Patty would agree with me when I say there will be plenty of time between now and November to play politics, but the small business owners beside me and around the country don’t have time for political games.  They’re not interested in what’s best for a political party.  They’re interested in what’s best for their employees and their communities and for the country. 

So when Congress reconvenes, this jobs bill will be the first business out of the gate, and I ask Senate Republicans to drop their efforts to block it.  I believe we can work together to get this done for the folks standing beside me, and for small businesses, their employees, and communities that depend on them all across the country.

President Obama meets with small business owners in Seattle

President Barack Obama holds a round table discussion with local small business owners during a stop at Grand Central Bakery in Seattle, Washington, Aug. 17, 2010. The President met with the group to discuss strengthening the economy and creating jobs for the families and businesses of Washington State. President Barack Obama delivers a statement to the press following a round table discussion with local small business during a stop at Grand Central Bakery in Seattle, Washington, Aug. 17, 2010. From left: Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., President Obama, Gillian Allen-White, General Manager of Grand Central Baking Company, Joe Fugere, founder of Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, and Tiffany Turner of the Inn at Discovery Coast. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy) August 17, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Related Topics: Economy, Washington