Mr. McCRERY. Madam Speaker, the motion to recommit that I am offering makes an important point about how we treat small businesses, the engine that drives much of our economy and creates many of our jobs in this country.
The underlying bill makes permanent the Community Express Program, which provides loans up to $250,000 to businesses which are owned by certain favored groups such as women, minorities, veterans, or socially or economically disadvantaged individuals. The measure does not define what it means for a business owner to be ``economically disadvantaged.''
This would require that the Small Business Administration would consider as economically disadvantaged those business owners that can demonstrate that they have been adversely impacted by an increase in the Federal minimum wage.
The importance of this motion is clear in the face of the failure of this House and the conferees on the supplemental appropriations bill that will be considered later tonight to adequately provide tax relief to those small businesses most impacted by an increase in the minimum wage.
The agreement reached by the majority and inserted into the supplemental does provide a larger dollar figure for relief than was passed by the House earlier this year, but almost none of the added tax revenues will provide relief to the small businesses most in need of assistance because of the increase in the minimum wage.
For example, more than 53 percent of the tax relief is in the form of a 44-month extension of the work opportunity tax credit. While extending the work opportunity tax credit may be good policy, and I happen to like that credit, more than 90 percent of the credits are claimed by firms with gross receipts over $50 million, hardly small businesses.
Other provisions, while well intentioned, will have little or no impact on small businesses. The S-Corp reforms, which costs almost $1 billion, have no direct relation to firms impacted by the minimum wage.
I support the changes in the package to the low income housing tax credit, but that $237 million in tax relief, again, does nothing towards satisfying the stated purpose of helping small businesses cope with the increase in the minimum wage.
While the work opportunity tax credit was expanded and was given a longer extension than in the House-passed package, provisions to help small businesses by increasing expensing were not given similar treatment. Other depreciation changes included in the Senate-passed bill that could have helped small businesses were completely left out of the conference agreement. In fact, barely $1 billion of the total almost $5 billion package provides relief to small businesses; and almost half of that, $457
million of it, exists solely to protect restaurant owners from the tax increase they would otherwise face from a minimum wage increase. Thus, only about one-eighth of the new benefits are targeted at small businesses.
That minimal relief for small businesses looks even smaller when compared against the Congressional Budget Office's estimate that the increase in the minimum wage will impose more than $16 billion in costs on the private sector over the next 5 years.
It should come as no surprise to anyone to learn that the National Federation of Independent Business, a small business association, released a statement today criticizing Congress for failing to deliver meaningful tax relief to the American small business community in the face of a mandated Federal minimum wage hike.
I submit for printing in the Record the entire statement of NFIB.
Tax Package Tied to Minimum Wage Hike Fails To Deliver Relief for Small Business
NFIB disappointed in diminished small-business tax relief in the federal supplemental spending bill
Washington, D.C., April 25, 2007--Dan Danner, executive vice president of the National Federation of Independent Business, today made the following statement in reaction to the reduced small-business tax-relief package contained in the federal minimum wage increase legislation, now attached to the Iraq spending bill.
It's truly disheartening that during National Small Business Week Congress has decided to renege on their promise to deliver meaningful tax relief to the American small-business community in the face of a mandated federal minimum wage hike.
While small businesses appreciate the increased and extended expensing limit, the tax package as a whole simply does not offer enough growth-oriented tax relief to allow small businesses to invest and stay competitive. NFIB is disappointed to see that the reduced tax package falls short of truly offsetting the costs small businesses will be forced to absorb as a result of a minimum wage increase.
Small-business owners have always opposed mandated wage levels because it leaves them with fewer choices in how they compensate their employees. But in the face of an inevitable wage hike, the small-business community was pleased to hear that Congress was planning to offer a tax package aimed at helping small businesses cope with additional labor costs.
From the beginning of this debate, the accompanying tax package was supposed to be about helping the country's small businesses. Instead, Congress has spent more time catering to big business demands than providing real tax relief to those who need it most--American small-business owners.
As this debate continues, NFIB will continue its efforts to educate members of Congress about why small businesses need and deserve meaningful tax relief.
Last week my friend, the distinguished chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, indicated that the tax package on the supplemental was the final deal. I suppose he meant the final deal on taxes associated with the minimum wage increase. And I guess he meant that, even if the supplemental is vetoed, that we don't go back to square one, that there will still be no renegotiation of the tax package. That is unfortunate, and that is what brings us here today.
The majority has said it is unwilling to reconsider ways to ensure that we provide tax relief to the businesses most in need and to examine the shortcomings of the tax package. Thus, we must find other ways to help small businesses continue to be the engines of job creation in our economy. By making small businesses adversely affected by a minimum wage increase eligible for the community express program, Madam Speaker, we are offering the House an opportunity, a chance, to make good on the promise
to help those businesses impacted by an increase of the minimum wage.
Madam Speaker, I urge passage of the motion.
Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time. [Page: H4119]
Ms. VELAZQUEZ. Madam Speaker, it amazes me if the gentleman from Louisiana is so concerned about the state of small businesses in our country, why is it that every time that I brought an amendment to any bill to reduce the cost of the 7(a) business loan program, you voted against that bill, against those amendments? That is the way we provide relief to small businesses.
The problem with the gentleman from Louisiana is that he doesn't believe that the minimum wage should be raised, and that 10 years is not long enough. So by supporting this motion to recommit, you are voting against providing relief to small businesses.
What we are doing with this bill is reducing up to $50,000 in fees to borrowers in this country. That is real relief.
So I urge my colleagues to vote against this motion, and to support the underlying bill.
Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.