Make us your home page

Obama says helping small businesses grow is a top priority

WASHINGTON — U.S. small businesses are still being starved of the capital they need to create jobs and help pull the economy out of recession, President Barack Obama said Thursday.

In a town-hall meeting at Industrial Support Inc., a small manufacturing company in Buffalo, N.Y., Obama said helping small businesses grow is a top priority for his economic team.

"Maybe the single most important thing we can do right now is to help ensure that credit-worthy small-business owners can get the capital they need," Obama said, according to prepared remarks released in Washington.

"This is our small-business agenda. This is our jobs agenda," he said.

In his remarks, Obama hailed the latest progress in the economy, noting that employment had risen for four months in a row. But he quickly added that he won't rest until everyone who wants to work can find a job.

"If you're still looking for a job, it's still a recession," Obama said. "If you can't pay your bills or your mortgage, it's still a recession. No matter what the economists say, it's not a real recovery until people can feel it in their own lives — until Americans who want work can find it; until families can afford to pay their bills and send their kids to college."

Citing last week's economic reports showing job growth in the United States for the fourth straight month, the president argued that his efforts to rescue the economy are working. He focused on his administration's efforts to help small businesses.

Last week, the administration unveiled legislation "to give our small businesses a boost," in the president's words. The legislation includes a $30 billion fund to increase lending to credit-worthy businesses.

Earlier Thursday, the Congressional Oversight Panel over the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program concluded that the government's efforts to funnel capital to small businesses have had little effect so far.

It's not clear that small businesses are being denied credit, the report said. The data show lending is down sharply, but it's unknown whether that's because banks won't lend or because businesses don't want to borrow.

The bipartisan panel threw some cold water on Obama's $30 billion plan. It could arrive too late to contribute meaningfully to economic recovery," the group said.

Help for small businesses would be especially welcome in cities like Buffalo, where large corporations have downsized and manufacturing jobs have been shipped overseas.

Western New York long has suffered from a lack of job growth and population losses. Two New York state residents who've started a website to draw attention to unemployment and other problems they blame on Washington put up a billboard along Interstate 190 that reads: "Dear Mr. President. I need a freakin job. Period."

Obama says helping small businesses grow is a top priority 05/13/10 [Last modified: Thursday, May 13, 2010 8:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, MarketWatch.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa is 15th-most popular city to move to with U-Haul


    TAMPA —Tampa is undoubtedly a destination point, at least according to U-Haul.

    Tampa is the No. 15 destination for people moving with U-Haul trucks. | Times file photo
  2. Florida's economy growing faster than other big states and far better than U.S. overall


    When it comes to economic growth, Florida's running alongside the leading states and well ahead of the United States as a whole.

  3. Westshore Marina District project takes shape with another acquisition

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — One of Tampa Bay's prime waterfront areas took another major step toward redevelopment Friday as WCI Communities bought 2.35 acres in Westshore Marina District.

    WCI Communities, Lennar's high-end subsidiary,has paid $2.5 million for 2.35 acres in the Westshore Marina District for 35 townhomes. WCI is under contract  to buy an additional 9.5 acres.
[BTI Partners]
  4. Posh Guy Harvey RV park to open in Tampa Bay with $250,000 cottages


    HOLIDAY — Love those Guy Harvey T-shirts with the soaring marlins? In the not too distant future, you might be able to kick back in your own Guy Harvey cottage in the first-ever Guy Harvey RV park.

    Renderings of the clubhouse and an RV cottage site of the planned Guy Harvey Outpost Club & Resort Tarpon Springs.
[Guy Harvey Outpost Collection]
  5. Port Tampa Bay secures $9 million grant to deepen Big Bend Channel


    Port Tampa Bay has secured a $9 million grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the widening and deepening of the Big Bend Channel in southern Hillsborough County.