President and CEO of the National Association of Development Companies (NADCO), the trade association of Certified Development Companies (CDCs)
There was little said on a key economic issue — support for small business — during President Obama's State of the Union speech last week.
His speech certainly was sweeping in its vision, including broad-scale initiatives from climate change to free trade and comprehensive immigration reform.
But what about job creation?
Small businesses have created two-thirds of all new jobs reported quarterly since 2010.The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation found that between 1977 and 2005, new businesses created an average of 3 million jobs while existing businesses lost a net of 1 million jobs.
Does that mean government should just get out of the way, as some have advocated, and let small businesses take care of themselves? Yes and no. While there are some common sense reforms that could ease the regulatory burdens that adversely and disproportionately impact small businesses, there are certain opportunities for the government to zero in on specific, targeted measures to boost our economy and accelerate the job creation America needs.
SBA's 504 Debt-Refinance Program
The Small Business Administration's 504 Debt-Refinance ("Debt-Refi") program is an example of a smart, bipartisan initiative that jump starts small business growth by unleashing billions of dollars of capital currently locked up in old,expensive debt.
Here's how it works.
Small businesses in good financial standing can refinance their costly asset-backed debt and access better rates that offer game-changing savings each month. Those savings are, by law, then invested back into the business,creating more economic output and jobs.
For Spivey Utility Construction Company in Odessa, Fla., "Debt-Refi" In July last year provided the necessary working capital to double its workforce, creating 90 jobs.
In the case of Robert and Mary Perez, who own and operate six Wendy's franchises in Arizona, the monthly savings they achieved through "Debt-Refi" during 2012 enabled them to hire three managers at higher starting salaries and increase staffing hours for existing team members.
In a trial period that effectively operated for less than a year in 2011 to 2012, more than 2,700 small businesses refinanced nearly $7 billion in mortgage debt, allowing each business to save as much as $20,000 per month.
The measure literally saved hundreds of businesses in communities across the country from being defeated by the recession, and gave others access to new capital and a brighter future.
It didn't cost the taxpayer a dime.
If "Debt-Refi" were extended, experts say more than 250,000 businesses could benefit.
While most Americans bemoan the rancor and gridlock that has defined Washington for so long, this initiative is an example of real partnership leading to real success. It is now up to policymakers in our nation's capital to put aside partisan gamesmanship and come together to enact pro-growth policy that will ignite an economic recovery led, as always, by small business.