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State of the Union Address Highlights Small Businesses' Need for Quick Action

Statement by John Arensmeyer, CEO, Small Business Majority:

The president's state of the union address Wednesday night underscored the significant role small businesses play in the overall health of our nation's economy-as engines of job growth and the springboards to our economic recovery.

More than half of all Americans working in the private sector are either employed by a small business or own one. It is these small business owners, and their employees, who will help restore the nation's economic vigor. But they need help from Congress to succeed. First and foremost, they need healthcare reform-which will help small businesses hire more people and, in turn, stimulate the economy. They also need access to more capital and a tax credit for hiring new workers.

As the president noted in his speech, it's critical that Congress push forward and pass some form of the healthcare legislation currently on the table. Last week's events don't change the fact that healthcare is an enormous problem for small business owners, and they are still desperate for reform. An economic study we commissioned shows that without reform, small businesses will pay $2.4 trillion in healthcare costs over the next decade, and lose $834 billion in wages over that period due to those costs.

Some suggest legislators should focus their attention solely on job creation and abandon healthcare reform. This would be a disaster for small businesses. Healthcare reform and jobs go hand in hand. Without the former, we can't achieve the latter.

In addition to passing healthcare reform, legislators must also move forward on bolstering small business lending and a jobs tax credit. These initiatives will help small businesses grow and thrive, and should be a priority for the president and Congress. 

There is one thing everyone can agree on: Nothing is more important than getting Americans back to work. It starts with small businesses. We urge Congress to pass legislation-most importantly, comprehensive healthcare reform, increasing small business lending and introducing a jobs tax credit-that will give the country's 28 million small businesses the support they need to do what they do best: get America working again.

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