Obama Seeks to Extend, Expand Small-Business Tax Breaks

President Barack Obama sent Congress a package of small business measures today that he said would expand tax relief and unlock capital to boost the economy and create jobs.

The plan would expand and make permanent a zero capital gains rate on small business investments; enact a new, 10 percent tax credit for hiring or increasing wages; double to $10,000 from $5,000 the deductions a startup business could take and extend 100 percent first-year depreciation, for one year, for qualified property placed in service before Jan. 1, 2013.

Obama said he wants “to spur entrepreneurship, to help startups.” At the start of a Cabinet meeting at the White House, he called on Congress to quickly act on legislation and said he would “sign it right away.”

Over the past week, the president has been fleshing out proposals he advanced in his State of the Union address. Tomorrow, he’s scheduled to give remarks about the economy and talk about proposals to revive the nation’s housing market.

In the election-year tension between the White House and Congress, tax benefits for small business may be an area where Democrats and Republican are to bridge differences.

Raising Money

Karen Mills, head of the Small Business Administration, said the agenda includes steps to make it easier for startup companies to raise money and to go public. She said it includes an expansion of a government small business investment program to an authorized level of $4 billion a year from $3 billion.

“We can target this to places that have been hard hit by the economy,” Mills said in a conference call with reporters.

Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, said in a statement that while initiatives on funding and becoming a public company have bipartisan support they haven’t been scheduled for action in the Democratic-controlled chamber.

This isn’t about “a contest, or who can claim credit, but whether we can demonstrate an ability to come together” to help create jobs and accelerate hiring, Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council at the White House, said on a conference call.

Details of the proposals will be included in the fiscal 2013 budget Obama submits to Congress Feb. 13.

The package builds on Obama’s Startup America, which was announced by the White House a year ago to foster entrepreneurship to create jobs.

A Small Business Jobs Act that Obama signed in September 2010 included eight tax cuts providing more than $12 billion in tax breaks for small businesses.

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