Natural Foods Merchandiser
Senate approves bill to help small businesses

Senate approves bill to help small businesses

A bill approved Thursday by the US. Senate aimed at helping the nation’s small businesses create more jobs may be good news for natural products retailers.

The Small Business Jobs Act, which passed 61 to 38, includes a $30 billion fund to increase access to lending for small businesses, $12 billion in tax cuts for small businesses, increased loan limits and a 90 percent federal guarantee for small business administration loans.

“If they [natural products retailers] have been shut out when trying to get credit, for example, this bill might open that door,” said John Gay, executive director and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based Natural Products Association. “Similarly, if the business buys the right equipment, this bill could give them a tax benefit. There are other tax breaks as well, so it's probably worthwhile for businesses to take a look.”

Two Republicans broke party ranks to approve the bill, which had been stalled since July by Republicans who considered the measure a bailout similar to the unpopular Wall Street bank rescue effort.

“This legislation, which is very important, will help create a half-a-million jobs, it will leverage billions of dollars in lending to small businesses, and it will reduce taxes for small businesses. As soon as we get the bill, we will take it up,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at a weekly briefing Thursday.

The bill also includes a provision written by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., that would give tax credits to self-employed Americans who buy their own health insurance. The measure now heads to the House of Representatives, where it’s expected to pass and be signed by President Obama.

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