Anyone who travels through Nebraska can't help but notice the number of small businesses we have in our state. The number of small employers in Nebraska totals 41,288 according to figures from the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy.
That amounts to nearly 97 percent of all employers in Nebraska and accounts for more than half of our private sector employment.
In the past 15 years small businesses have created two-thirds of all new jobs. However, the recession has hit small businesses particularly hard and they are in need of help. Since December 2007 small businesses have lost more than 6 million jobs across our country. The good news is there are things we can do to help turn that around.
One of the major concerns I've heard from Nebraska's small business owners as they come in to visit me is the lack of capital available because of financial institutions' fear to lend after the recklessness of Wall Street.
This is why the Senate approved a small business jobs package that would include a $30 billion lending pool, so small community banks can extend their lending to small employers in order to unlock capital that has been so scarce.
The bill also provides $12 billion in tax cuts for small businesses that will help create the right economic conditions for small businesses to create as many as 500,000 new jobs.
Some incorrectly called this another bailout but it's not because it only allows resources to go to healthy community banks, not emergency aid for collapsing big banks that threatened to take our economy down.
To make this small business legislation even more attractive, it pays for itself and does not add to the nation's debt. The non partisan Congressional Budget Office says the provision will actually create a $1.1 billion surplus that goes back to the treasury.
Besides creating a half million jobs, a $30 billion lending pool, and $12 billion in tax cuts the Small Business Jobs Act rewards entrepreneurs for investing in new small businesses and helps Main Street businesses compete with large corporations.
The bill is really good news for our small businesses, which is why it had the support of the Nebraska Independent Community Bankers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Independent Community Bankers of America and 28 state community bank associations, the National Small Business Association, the National Association for the Self Employed, Small Business Majority, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, the National Bankers Association and the American Bankers Association.* The bill also enjoyed bipartisan support in the Senate and passed on a vote of 61 to 38.
If there is one thing both Democrats and Republicans can agree on, it's that small businesses are a critical part of our country's economic engine and the job creators who are going to fuel the recovery.