Obama Aides Promote Business Break as Part of Tax-Cut Package

U.S. President Barack Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to a crowd during a campaign stop at Kirkwood Community College on July 10, 2012 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Photographer: David Greedy/Getty Images

Obama administration officials offered a new argument today for why Congress should extend the Bush-era tax cuts for middle-income Americans, tying it to a tax break for small businesses.

President Barack Obama’s support for legislation to let small businesses write off as much as $250,000 in capital investments in 2013 was one of a half-dozen actions the administration highlighted to demonstrate support for business.

Without an extension of the tax cuts before year’s end, or passage of a separate measure by Congress, the expensing limit for small businesses would decline to $25,000, according to a fact sheet released by the White House.

The other initiatives announced by Small Business Administrator Karen Mills, Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Jeffrey Zients and National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling do not require legislation.

With less than five months until the presidential election and the national unemployment rate stuck at more than 8 percent, Obama has been promoting his plans to spur hiring.

Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said Obama is repackaging measures already in the works to try to offset concerns of small business owners that they would face higher taxes under the president’s plan.

Republicans have long supported small business tax relief for buying equipment and machinery, Buck said. “The idea that we’d have to pair that with a tax increase on small businesses is both ridiculous and counter-productive,” he said.

Loan Maximum

The administration announced it will raise the maximum loan amount in the SBA’s Small Loan Advantage program, to $350,000 from $250,000; shorten the application for disaster loan payments; and streamline the application for surety bond guarantees under $250,000, replacing the five forms needed now to apply for surety bonds.

Obama will direct agencies to make contract payments to prime contractors in 15 days rather than 30. The administration also said it will adjust regulations for the New Markets Tax Credit to help community development entities draw private investment.

“We will take whatever actions we can” to help small businesses, Sperling said.

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