Soon after trying to show his friendliness to the tech community by engaging in a Google+ "hangout," President Barack Obama asked Congress to fast-track legislation that would encourage small business owners, particularly touting several measures he included in his budget proposal to give tax breaks and strong incentives for entrepreneuers.
These measures include permanently doing away with taxes for capital gains on private, small-business investments, and the ability for small businesses to deduct expenses for supplies and software.
Also, they would give a 10% tax break to small businesses that add jobs or increase wages in 2012, and expand a $1 billion investment fund, where the federal government would match private investments in small businesses dollar for dollar for high-growth startups, particularly in the crucial series A period, from $1-4 million.
"I mentioned at the State of the Union that there have been discussions, bipartisan discussions between Republicans and Democrats, about a whole set of measures that can accelerate financing to startup companies; can provide tax breaks to startups and small businesses that are interested in either hiring more workers or increasing their wages; that looks at innovative ways for them to raise capital," said Obama, presiding over his first cabinet meeting since the State of the Union address.
Obama's comments called attention to the fact that the head of the Small Business Administration, Karen Mills, was participating as a full member of the cabinet for the first time, since the Clinton administration.
"It is a symbol of how important it is for us to spur entrepreneurship, to help startups, to move aggressively so that we can assure more companies that create the most jobs in our economy are getting a leg up from various programs that we have in our government," Obama said, as reported by the Associated Press.
Obama indicated that the Department of Homeleand Security will be changing Visa requirements to encourage foreign-born entrepreneurs and high-skilled immigrants to start businesses in the US.
This initiative is included in bipartisan proposals by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Marc Rubio (R-FL) and by Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Mark Warner (D-VA). White House officials have not disclosed the cost of Obama's measures but indicated that they would be covered by proposals in the 2013 budget to reduce tax expenditures.
These measures also call for larger earnings cap for funds raised through small public offerings, or "mini-IPOs," which would not require extensive registration with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). The cap would be raised from $5 million to $50 million.
"Our small business agenda has a specific focus on removing the barriers that have for too long blocked startups and entrepreneurs from getting the financing they need to accelerate their growth and hiring," said director of White House National Economic Council, Gene Sperling, to AP.