Franchise Industry Says It’s Crunch Time for Health-Care Reform

Ken Walker the chairman of the International Franchise Association, and chairman and CEO of Driven Brands, says “Start Over”. That’s the message that the International Franchise Association (IFA) and its grass-roots members are telling Congress as it considers comprehensive health-care reform. And we are not alone in this call.

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Congress Boosts SBA Loans

Portfolio.com reports that after weeks of talk about the credit crunch facing small businesses, Washington finally is doing something about it.

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Immigration Reform Bill Introduced

Paul Frumkin of Nation’s Restaurant News reports that the battle over immigration reform got off to an earlier start than anticipated when a group of lawmakers introduced a comprehensive bill into the U.S. House of Representatives this week.

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Joblessness Plan Revamps Rules on Bank Bailouts

David Cho writes in the Washington Post that the Obama administration plans to channel money from the government’s massive financial bailout program to small businesses as part of an effort to limit the political and economic damage of high unemployment. One plan under consideration involves spinning off a new entity from the Troubled Assets Relief Program that would give banks access to federal funds without restrictions, including limits on executive pay, as long as the money was used to support loans to small businesses. But officials are not yet certain whether carving the program out of TARP would be the best way to encourage banks to boost small-business lending, according to sources familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plans are not final.

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Obama wants $100M more to carry small-business programs

The Obama administration is strongly urging Capitol Hill to add new funds to a popular small-business loan program that is nearly out of money. As part of the $787 billion fiscal stimulus package earlier this year, lawmakers included $375 million to support Small Business Administration (SBA) programs to spur lending through higher guarantees and reduced fees. The administration credits the programs with helping to rejuvenate lending for small businesses. Loan volumes under the program had crashed during the financial crisis last fall and winter. But the programs have been so popular this year that they are running out of money several months early.

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Study: Health Reform Boosts Premium Costs

Corrinne Hess reports in The Business Journal of Milwaukee – that National health care reform will drive up premium costs in the private health insurance markets, particularly for the young and the healthy, according to data from a series of state-level studies from insurance company WellPoint Inc.

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Obama Asks for SBA Loan Expansion, Franchisees Agree

Don Sniegowski reports at BlueMauMau that President Barack Obama announced plans Wednesday afternoon to shift some of Wall Street’s bailout funds over to community banks in order to spur lending to small businesses, which has slowed to a trickle. With SBA administrator Karen Mills and Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner flanking him, President Obama made several announcements to boost small business.

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Obama: Still “A Long Way To Go” to Help Small Businesses

Henry Pulizzi of the New York Times rports that President Barack Obama unveiled initiatives to help small businesses, saying the U.S. has “a long way to go” to ensure that credit flows to an area of the economy hit hard by the recession.

“There is still too little credit flowing to our small businesses. There are still too many entrepreneurs who can’t get the loan they need to open their doors and start hiring,” Obama said in a speech at Landover, Md.-based Metropolitan Archives, a family-owned firm that stores and delivers paper files for large companies.

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