Obama Urges Plan To Boost Small Businesses

President Obama is asking Congress to pass a $30 billion measure designed to funnel more money into the hands of small business owners. The plan would take money left over from the Wall Street bailout and direct it to community banks -- with an incentive for them to lend to small businesses.

The legislation would eliminate capital gains taxes for investments in such companies and encourage people to open businesses by offering tax relief to small startups.

Obama first raised the idea in his State of the Union speech. And on Friday he again called for Congress to approve the idea after a White House meeting with small business owners.

"We've been hearing from small businesses that want to retain and hire more employees, but they need additional credit," Obama said. "And we've been hearing from small community banks that want to lend more to small businesses, but they need additional capital. So this bill helps to fulfill both needs."

Obama said that from the middle of 2007 to the end of 2008, small businesses lost 2.4 million jobs. "And because banks shrunk from lending in the midst of this financial crisis, it's been particularly difficult for small business owners to take out loans to open up shop or expand."

The House Financial Services Committee approved the small business lending bill with no Republican support last month. It's expected to come before the full House next week. Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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