The Solution to a Successful Economic Stimulus Package

Small enterprise has a critical role to play in America's economic recovery, especially in rural areas. So when Congress takes up legislation to refuel our economy, small entrepreneurship should be the centerpiece.
Microenterprises – owner-operated businesses that provide self employment and perhaps hire a few employees – create most new rural jobs. Beginning farmers and value added agriculture bring additional vitality to rural America. There's no better time than now for federal policy to invest in these proven rural development strategies. Here's how Congress can do it:
 
> Provide a direct incentive for rural enterprise by establishing a Microenterprise and Beginning Farmer Investment Tax Credit of up to $10,000 to stimulate small business expansion and new farm and business startups.
 
> Fund more rural small business loans, training and technical assistance by increasing funding for the Rural Microentrepreneurs Program. An increase from $4 million to $25 million in this new farm bill program would pay long-term dividends.
 
> Add funds to the successful Value Added Producer Grants Program, which makes grants to family-size farmers and ranchers to launch new ventures to establish local markets and to process and market high value crops and livestock. An added $24 million would bring the program to the $40 million authorized by the farm bill.
 
These three provisions would jump start rural economy and plant the seeds of long-term rural vitality through entrepreneurship. Congress should embrace them as it develops legislation to prompt economic recovery in America.

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