Well, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Small Business, Community Development and Housing Policy at the U.S. Department of Treasury – but that title is way too long for a headline. How come federal government employees have such long titles?
Anyway, Don Graves is the man behind the title and made a keynote speech about the role of the Jobs Council and what the Obama Administration has done/is doing/will do for our industry.
“Micro Enterprises at the heart of the American business community.” — Don Graves
1. Jobs Council:
The Obama Administration believes that we must put aside our partisan issues and find ways to support small business and bring opportunity back to this country, which is why he named Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE and a Republican to head the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Mr. Graves is the man on the ground that will lead the work that the Jobs Council will do. The council reports directly to President Obama and will be hosting listening sessions around the country to take the ideas from the American people directly to the President. The Jobs Council is going to be looking at the following:
- Corporate tax reform,
- Regulatory reform,
- Infrastructure investment,
- Innovative ideas to job creation,
- Workforce development and
- Large focus on small business, which Micro Enterprise and community organizations will be a significant part of that discussion.
2. CDFI fund is critical to the Treasury, The Secretary asks about on a very regular basis – will support at the highest levels that we can.
3. Small Business Jobs Act created and supported a number of SBA programs, but also some Treasury programs.
Small Business Lending Fund at Treasury gave $30billion to support community banks and providing incentives by getting dividend rate down (if increase lending by 10 percent, div rate down to 1 percent and gets locked in for two years and then goes up to 9% in 4.5 years. Community banks can’t get these rates anywhere right now.
There’s also $300mm CDFI lending fund.
State Small Business credit initiative – $1.5 billion to leverage $15 billion of lending across the country to get at the smallest businesses. The program gives dollars that support or match state and bank dollars. Five states have received allocations.
When it was time for questions, CAMEO members stood out.
CAMEO member Marsha Bailey told Mr. Graves how the reporting on the three federal grants that she has from the federal government is the duplication issues – not the duplication of services that
Mr. Graves seconded everything she said and said that the Jobs Council does want to streamline the application and reporting requirements of the grant process. (YAY!)
Another CAMEO member Robert Barragan of VEDC -asked if the rules could be changed to make tax policy more friendly to lending to small businesses. Don Graves said yes, rules will change. “We have been working very hard with the IRS and colleagues in tax policy … to get change policy making it easier to use tax credits.