Obama Signs Small Business Legislation

By: Ken Thomas, Associated Press
By: Ken Thomas, Associated Press

Washington, D.C (AP) - President Barack Obama signed bipartisan jobs legislation Thursday that will help small businesses and make it easier for startups to raise capital, saying it could be a "game-changer" for entrepreneurs dreaming of founding the next Microsoft or Facebook.

"When their ideas take root, we get inventions that can change the way we live," Obama said in the Rose Garden, flanked by lawmakers of both parties who backed the bill. "And when their businesses take off, more people become employed."

He said the initiatives in the bill paralleled many of the provisions that he sought last fall in his jobs agenda to encourage small-business growth.

Republicans, who promoted the pro-small business ideas in the House, joined Obama at the signing ceremony, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., whose seat has been targeted by Democrats, also looked on as Obama signed the bill into law.

"This bill represents exactly the kind of bipartisan action we should be taking in Washington to help our economy," Obama said.

Cantor, speaking to reporters after the ceremony, said the bill was aimed at "the problem that we face in America today which is that our economy is lagging and our small businesses are having too hard of a time getting up off the ground."

Some Democrats, however, raised concerns that the bill softened investment protections enacted after the dot.com excesses and Wall Street meltdowns and the changes could lead to fraud and abuse.

Speaking to an audience that included small business owners, Obama indicated he's aware of those concerns and has directed top officials to "keep a close eye" on how it goes into effect

The main part of the bill would phase in Securities and Exchange Commission regulations over a five-year period to let smaller companies go public sooner. Firms that have annual gross revenues of less than $1 billion would enjoy this "emerging growth company" status.

The legislation may be one of the few accomplishments for a Congress stymied by partisan divisions heading into the fall elections.

The bill combines a number of bipartisan bills that exempt newer companies from SEC reporting rules in order to reduce costs and red tape.

Another provision facilitates the practice of "crowd-funding" in which the Internet is used to solicit a large number of smaller investors.

Senate Democrats were unsuccessful in their efforts to add more investor protections but succeeded in attaching one provision that requires websites involved in crowd-funding to register with the SEC. It also demands that companies seeking to raise money this way provide information on its financial status, business plans and shareholder risks.

Sara Hanks, a securities attorney and co-founder of CrowdCheck, a company aimed at helping startups, said the crowd-funding element will help make it easier for small companies to access capital but warned it will be up to investors and entrepreneurs "to protect themselves from deals that are too good to be true."

In addition to the emerging growth company and crowd-funding provisions, the legislation removes SEC regulations preventing small businesses from using advertisements to attract investors and raises from 500 to 2,000 the number of shareholders a company or community bank can have before it must register with the SEC.


Follow Ken Thomas on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AP-Ken-Thomas

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  • by REALLY??? on Apr 6, 2012 at 07:49 AM
    Dont forget he wants to up Medicaid so more people will live off the government teat.
  • by Gerry on Apr 6, 2012 at 05:37 AM
    Election time.
  • by just go away on Apr 6, 2012 at 04:45 AM
    Obummer is such a joke. Remember to vote folks, he's got to go.
    • reply
      by Tea Partian Rpublican on Apr 6, 2012 at 06:10 AM in reply to just go away
      Yes then we can put in place our bill, to throw out obamacare and kick all you diabetics, cancer, pts. high blood pressure pts. and cardiac pts. off the insurance because you have preexisting conditions and draining the system! then we will cut out the middle class, and stop all support for the poor,ederly and disabled! cost is way too much!! The when Mitt Romney wins he can turn america around!!!
      • reply
        by hmmm on Apr 6, 2012 at 06:52 AM in reply to Tea Partian Rpublican
        I thought your name was CONSERVATIVE DEMOCRAT.
      • reply
        by Reagan Republican on Apr 6, 2012 at 10:26 AM in reply to Tea Partian Rpublican
        @ sarcastic Tea... What is your deal with all the stuff you have dreamed up in your mind to scare people into voting for Obama. That is all you have got to say because Pres. Obama can't run on his record of leadership or success of policies. The Government is not the answer to your problems and nothing is for free in the long run.
        • reply
          by Republican tea partiest on Apr 6, 2012 at 01:57 PM in reply to Reagan Republican
          then you need to go to work, and get off the system!! get off the government help we are tired of supporting you!! Mitt will win president then all of you will have to get off the system!!
  • by God Bless America on Apr 5, 2012 at 10:36 PM
    People to Obama...SIGN YOUR RESIGNATION!!
    • reply
      by Preacher on Apr 6, 2012 at 01:55 PM in reply to God Bless America
      • reply
        by God Bless America on Apr 6, 2012 at 07:18 PM in reply to Preacher
        Are you confused?
  • by Jim Location: Gadsden County on Apr 5, 2012 at 05:53 PM
    Smoke screen. Where's the Change and Hope?........46 million on food stamps. Gas 3.92 a gallon....
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