Las Vegas Sun

July 31, 2014

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SUN EDITORIAL:

Helping Main Street

Senate should approve legislation that could spark small businesses’ growth

It was no coincidence that President Barack Obama met Wednesday in New Jersey with the owners of a sandwich shop, an Italian restaurant, a paper-tube manufacturer and a company that helps homeowners save energy. All run small businesses, the type that create the majority of new jobs in this country. Obama recognizes that the road to economic recovery runs straight down Main Street, which is why he is urging the Senate this week to approve the Small Business Jobs Act, a version of which has cleared the House.

Among the legislation’s appealing provisions are a $30 billion fund that community banks can use to lend money to small businesses, $20 billion in loans that such entrepreneurs would be able to receive through state programs, elimination of capital gains taxes on certain small-business investments and other tax incentives aimed at encouraging business expansion.

It is no wonder the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce came out this month in support of the legislation. President and CEO Matt Crosson said: “Small businesses need more help to get back on their feet, and they need it as quickly as possible. The Small Business Jobs Act will give entrepreneurs valuable assistance and strong, tangible incentives that can help spur business investment and job growth that are essential to economic recovery.”

Senate Republicans, are you listening?

It is abundantly clear that major banks, including those that were bailed out by taxpayers, have made little effort to lend Main Street a helping hand. But big banks aren’t the only culprits. Senate Republicans have taken equally indefensible actions by repeatedly standing in the way of legislation aimed at sparking economic recovery. They are fixed on worthless trickle-down economic theories and on anything that helps only those individuals and corporate giants in the upper tax brackets. They have shown they couldn’t care less about Main Street.

Small businesses de-serve much better. At least they have a friend in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat who aptly put his finger on why the Senate should pass this legislation.

“The reason we’re pressing the small-business jobs bill is that’s where most jobs are,” Reid said. “Most people think the jobs come from General Motors, AT&T and those huge companies, but that’s not true. Probably 80 percent of all jobs in America come from small business, and that’s why we’re trying to stimulate small business in Nevada and the rest of the country.”

We urge the Senate to pass the bill quickly so small businesses can begin to hire more workers, purchase equipment and expand operations. All of that would have a ripple effect on local economies, particularly in hard-hit Southern Nevada, where employment growth would be most welcome.

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