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For Immediate Release
April 13, 2006

Fact Sheet: the President's Small Business Agenda: Helping Entrepreneurs Prosper

Today, President Bush Addressed The Small Business Week Conference And Outlined His Agenda To Help Small Businesses Grow. The President discussed three broad areas where the Administration is improving the environment for small businesses - keeping taxes low and spending tax dollars wisely, making health care more affordable and available, and expanding business opportunities at home and abroad.

Keeping Taxes Low And Spending Tax Dollars Wisely

The President Has Lowered Taxes For Everyone Who Pays Income Taxes. The President's tax relief has helped workers keep more of their paychecks; helped families by lowering rates and doubling the child credit; reduced the marriage penalty; and put the death tax on the road to extinction.

Congress Needs To Restrain Spending So We Can Stay On Track To Cut The Deficit In Half By 2009. All business owners have to live within their means - and so should the government.

Reforming Our Healthcare System To Make Coverage More Affordable And Available

To Help Make Coverage More Affordable For Small Businesses, The President Proposes Expanding Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). HSAs allow Americans to save tax-free dollars to pay for near-term medical expenses and save for future long-term costs. HSAs provide catastrophic coverage at a low price and allow employers and employees to contribute to a tax-free account that the employee owns and can use for routine medical expenses. These accounts are accompanied by an HSA-qualified insurance plan covering major medical expenses and preventive care. HSA-qualified insurance plans are an alternative to traditional health insurance policies and have lower premiums and higher deductibles. Savings from lower premiums can be put toward funding the HSA.

The President's Proposed Expansion Of HSAs Will Help Small Businesses And The Self-Employed.

The President Has Proposed Association Health Plans (AHPs) So Small Businesses Get The Same Discounts On Health Insurance As Big Businesses. AHPs would allow small firms to band together across state lines to create larger risk pools - and that would let them buy insurance coverage for their employees at the same discounts that big companies get. The House has already passed a bill allowing AHPs - and the President calls on the Senate to do its part.

To Make Healthcare More Affordable, We Need To Reduce Frivolous Lawsuits. Good doctors are being forced to practice defensive medicine - ordering unnecessary tests, visits, and procedures to protect themselves from getting sued. Defensive medicine raises the cost of Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Affairs, and other Federal health programs by an estimated $28 billion a year. The House has passed a good piece of legislation - but it is being blocked in the Senate. The President calls on Congress to pass medical liability reform this year. To help small businesses, the President supports the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act, which would penalize frivolous lawsuits.

The President Is Also Pursuing Other Reforms To Make The Healthcare System More Efficient And Cost-Effective. The President is promoting transparency so patients know exactly what procedures cost and what they entail. The President is also pushing for better use of information technology to expand electronic health records and help doctors improve efficiency and eliminate preventable medical errors.

Making It Easier And Less Expensive To Do Business Here And Abroad

At Home, The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Is Working Hard To Make It Easier For People To Start Their Own Companies. Since the President came into office, the Administration has doubled the number of small business loans and increased the number of loans to minority entrepreneurs by 175 percent. We have also reduced administrative costs and bureaucracy so that small business loans are now much cheaper to fund. Overall, the cost of running the SBA has been lowered by more than 20 percent - and we have increased the amount of loans to entrepreneurs by 80 percent.

Abroad, The Administration Is Opening Markets. Small businesses account for about a quarter of America's exports and have great potential for expanding their sales overseas, but the cost of doing business overseas is often too high for small firms. Small businesses need markets to be open and easy to navigate, which is why the President has concluded free and fair trade agreements around the world. When the President took office, the United States had three free trade agreements. Now we have free trade agreements with 11 countries and 18 more are pending - and the President is pushing for an ambitious conclusion to the Doha round of world trade talks.

The President Has Proposed Bold Initiatives To Keep America The Best Place In The World To Do Business.

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