WASHINGTON — Seeking cooperation in a polarized climate, President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged Congress to act quickly on bipartisan measures that would extend tax breaks for small businesses and help startup companies raise money. He said he would sign the legislation “right away.”
Obama plans to include in his 2013 budget proposal later this month a series of business measures that have been percolating in Congress or that already have passed the Republican-controlled House to give entrepreneurs incentives to expand their businesses or start new ones.
Obama made his remarks during a Cabinet meeting at the White House. He noted that, for the first time, the head of the Small Business Administration, Karen Mills, was participating as a full member of the Cabinet.
“It is a symbol of how important it is for us to spur entrepreneurship, to help startups, to move aggressively so that we can assure more companies that create the most jobs in our economy are getting a leg up from various programs that we have in our government,” Obama said.
The White House legislative agenda for small businesses includes permanently eliminating capital gains taxes on investments in small businesses and a one-year extension on the ability of all businesses to deduct immediately all of the costs of equipment and software purchases.
The Obama administration also is seeking a 10 percent tax credit for small businesses adding jobs or increasing wages in 2012.
In addition, the president's proposals would make it easier for startup companies to raise money and to go public, embracing a series of measures that already have passed the House or that have bipartisan support in the Senate. Obama also is proposing expanding a government small business investment program from $3 billion to $4 billion.
“The president has made small businesses and particularly startups a key aspect of his economic growth agenda because he understands how much the newest and fastest-growing small businesses drive job growth in our economy,” said Gene Sperling, director of the White House National Economic Council.
Obama said the Homeland Security Department also is seeking ways to change the visa process to attract foreign-born entrepreneurs and high-skilled immigrants to invest in the United States or start new businesses. The State Department also plans a change in regulations to provide longer
The measures are modest by comparison to Obama's 2009 economic stimulus or to last year's jobs bill. But they borrow from past Obama initiatives and from bipartisan legislation in Congress that has passed or been proposed.