Oregon small business help profile. Who is doing what.

How help is coming to small business. 
Profile of Mayor Sam Adams and NFIB efforts.
By Alyssa Williams,

Mayor Sam Adams announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will make low-interest loans available to small businesses in Oregon economically impacted by this winter’s storms.  Adams believes these Economic Injury Disaster Loans made available to alleviate temporary financial burdens from small businesses negatively affected by the weather from Dec. 14, 2008 to Jan. 4, 2009 will alleviate some financial concerns.

“The SBA’s recognition of this disaster highlights the mountain of challenges currently facing small businesses,” Adams said in an e-mail to Oregon residents. “Our goal is to help these affected businesses rebuild.”

Many businesses could not operate regularly during the holiday season, the most profitable time of year, due to the storms. Small businesses could receive working capital loans from the SBA of up to $2 million at an interest rate of 4 percent with terms up to 30 years.

On the other hand, the Oregon division of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB/OR) is actively advocating for small business with a focus on monitoring tax increases as its first legislative priority in 2009, according to a press release from the organization.

NFIB/OR will fight any efforts to raise taxes, a predictable move from lawmakers in a projected budget deficit of over $1.4 billion for the 2009-2011 biennium.

However, NFIB/OR could not stop the federal “disconnect” House Bill 2157 from passing in the Oregon Senate on Feb. 12. The bill “disconnects” Oregon taxes from the federal tax code.

NFIB/OR State Director Jenna Kaluza claimed measures like House Bill 2157 are not uncommon in hard economic times, but it presently sends the wrong message. A bill meant to avoid an estimated $90 million in lost revenue from federal taxes now prevents the state from receiving federal tax breaks in the stimulus package for Oregon income taxes.

Kaluza and others in opposition of the bill believe the measure is inefficient and premature, having been passed before President Obama signed the stimulus package.

Although there may be attempts to “reconnect” federal and Oregon state taxes to restore the stimulus tax breaks, the NFIB/OR State Director is doubtful that legislation will succeed.

While Kaluza indicated the need for smart and careful action looking toward the future, she also pointed to an urgency to help small businesses now. “Legislators have a hard session ahead of them. So do we,” she said. “Our hope is that legislation will look forward to stimulate small business in the short run.”

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