Washington, DC –Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) helped pass legislation late yesterday that will provide small businesses with access to the loans and investment dollars they need to grow and create jobs. The Small Business Financing and Investment Act will help open tight credit markets that have shut out small business. By comprehensively updating the Small Business Administration’s capital access programs, the legislation is expected to support $44 billion in lending and investment for smaller firms.

“Small businesses are the number one source of new jobs in this country” said Congressman Himes.  “By helping small businesses grow, we will put Connecticut citizens back to work, support innovation in our economy, and lay the groundwork for future prosperity.”

Small businesses create 60-80% of new jobs every year, but the current economic crisis has frozen credit and made it difficult for American small businesses to get the financing they need.

This legislation will increase loan sizes to better meet businesses’ needs. It includes incentives to encourage local banks to lend to small businesses and reduces bureaucratic red tape, making it easier for entrepreneurs to secure credit. The bill creates a new public-private partnership to expand investments in small business startups, an important source of job creation. It also extends critical Recovery Act provisions eliminating fees on Small Business Administration loans and guaranteeing up to 90% of 7(a) loans. To foster a diverse mix of businesses, it takes steps to promote veteran-owned and women-owned small businesses.

“Local businesses are struggling under the weight of tight credit markets and rising health care costs, so this legislation couldn’t come at a better time,” said Joseph McGee, Vice President of Public Policy for the Business Council of Fairfield County. “Congressman Himes is supporting a common-sense bill that will help make credit available to small businesses so they can continue to create jobs and help turn the economy around.”

In addition to extending SBA programs, plans are in place to use some remaining TARP resources to increase lending at smaller and community-based banks. Congressman Himes applauded this announcement by the President last week.

“I hear from small businesses in my district every day that they are still struggling to obtain the credit they need to operate and create jobs,” said Congressman Himes. “Extending TARP to small business lending is a fair and smart way to jumpstart economic activity for small businesses. It will increase their access to capital, make it easier to hire workers, and give entrepreneurs the tools they need invest in emerging industries.”