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Obama signs small business bill into law

Legislation has support of restaurant groups

President Barack Obama signed into law Monday a multibillion-dollar aid package for small business that has the support of several industry associations.

At the signing ceremony, the president said the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010 would cut taxes and make more loans available for small businesses.

“It’s a great victory for America’s entrepreneurs,” Obama said.

Hear the rest of Obama's remarks on the bill:

The House had approved the bill by a vote of 237 to 187, while the Senate passed it by a margin of 61 to 37.

Last week, officials from the National Restaurant Association and the International Franchise Association expressed support for the bill after it cleared the House.

“The provisions in this bill to expand access to capital will help restaurant operators make necessary investments, hire and retain workers, and, in certain cases, keep their doors open,” said Scott DeFife, executive vice president of policy and government affairs for the NRA.

Stephen J. Caldeira, president and chief executive of the IFA, described passage of the bill in Congress as “a great win for franchise businesses that have lobbied intensely for these changes for nearly two years.”

Provisions in the measure include:

Access to capital. The measure calls for the establishment of a $30 billion Small Business Lending Fund, which will assist small banks seeking to provide loans to small businesses.

The bill also will boost the maximum size of Small Business Administration loans from $2 million to $5 million for SBA 7 (a) loans and from $1.5 million to $5.5 million for 504 loans.

The fees on those loans, which were eliminated in 2009, will continue to be eliminated through the end of 2010.

Tax relief. The bill will allow operators to expense up to $250,000 of the cost of improvements made to their restaurants, which would include investment in new equipment.

Contact Paul Frumkin at [email protected].

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