That small business lending bill is a step closer to becoming law. The Senate saw to that by passing the measure, which now heads to the House and, in all likelihood, to the president's desk for final approval.
The goal is to boost credit for small businesses, thus giving them the money they need to grow and, more important, to hire more employees.
Will it work? Beats me. I've got mixed emotions.
Why I love the bill: It would create a $30 billion fund that would provide small community banks with more money to lend to small businesses. “The idea,” reports CNNMoney.com, “is that community banks do the lion's share of lending to small businesses, and pumping capital into them will get money in the hands of Main Street businesses.”
The bill also offers a slew of new tax incentives designed to increase spending by (and investment in) small businesses, as well as “$1.5 billion in grants to state lending programs that in turn support loans to small businesses,” reports CNNMoney.
And let's face it: Small businesses can use all the help they can get these days.
Why I hate the bill: Despite bipartisan pleas, the Senate inexplicably left in place an unbelievably burdensome and altogether stupid provision from the health care reform act that forces businesses to report to the IRS any purchase of $600 or more from a vendor of goods or services. That provision is scheduled to take effect in 2012.
In other words, a bill that's desigined to save small businesses is going to leave them drowning in paperwork … right along with the IRS.
That makes as much sense as anything that comes out of Congress these days.
Why I couldn't care less about the bill: Call me cynical, but I can't help but think the only reason Congress does anything — especially during an election year — is to win votes, and I'm not convinced this bill is any different.
I hope I'm wrong. So far, though, I'm not seeing a lot of the working-together-on-behalf-of-America attitude from our elected officials. Mostly, what I see boils down to making the other guy look bad.
It sounds naive, but we deserve better — way better — than that.
If you're interested, here are some other resources related to the bill: