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Crapo: Big Government Trumped Small Business

Tax and mandate reforms ignored in favor of new spending, government control over the economy

Washington, D.C. - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo says the recipe for creating jobs for small businesses should include stopping tax increases, preventing new government mandates and providing better access to private-sector capital. But he says the Small Business Development Act that passed the Senate today on a nearly party-line vote of 61-38 meets none of those goals. Crapo voted against the bill because, although it temporarily reduces selected business taxes by $12 billion, it failed to address the $300 billion in permanent tax increases that are on the horizon in less than four months when tax relief on all Americans is allowed to expire. Even worse, he noted, it creates a "Baby TARP" plan to allow the government to take an equity stake in community banks that participate in a new business lending facility.

"We had a bill come out of the Small Business Committee that had bipartisan support because it focused on solid tax relief and incentives for small business and job creation," Crapo said. "But what was added later was a $30 billion Small Business Lending Fund, similar to the well-known Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Like TARP, this program does not lend directly to small businesses. It would have the government purchase stock in community banks and then require that they make loans.

"Each participating bank would have to provide the government with a business plan for review. Rather than having loans approved based on the creditworthiness of a borrower, politics will now play a role. This 'Baby TARP' plan calls for another $30 billion in spending, and unneeded government control over and ownership in community banks that choose to participate in yet another federal bureaucracy. We should let the market, not bureaucrats, decide which businesses get loans," he added.

Crapo said if businesses owners are going to hire workers they will want assurances that they won't see massive tax increases next year and that they won't have the cost of health care benefits they provide employees driven up by government mandates. He noted Congress this week had the chance to repeal onerous business paperwork requirements with the IRS but the motion failed.

"The federal government has significantly increased its control over the financial sector, the automobile industry, the student loan program, the health care system and now it wants to move into control and ownership of our community banks. We must draw the line on spending and government takeovers but unfortunately there are those in Congress who still think we need more government control over the economy and that we can spend our way to prosperity," Crapo concluded.

The vote comes as the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) announced Crapo will again receive its "Guardian of Small Business Award" for 2010. Crapo has been an annual recipient of the award throughout his service in Congress.