Nightly News   |  January 28, 2010

Small businesses eye Obama initiatives

Jan. 28: As part of his focus on job creation, President Barack Obama outlined several ideas to boost hiring at small businesses, but business owners wonder whether his plan will ease the credit crunch. NBC's John Yang reports.

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>> savannah grut rishgs thanks.

>>> one part of that speech last night was about jobs, aimed specifically at small businesses , which of course have been hit so hard by this recession. will the plans the president laid out really help in this area? our own john yang talked to some small business owners in chicago.

>> reporter: as president of a small manufacturing company, craig shields listened carefully what president obama had to say about creating jobs.

>> i think there were very good points and some that could be changed.

>> reporter: he likes the idea of helping exporters and eliminating capital gains taxes on small business investment, but tax credits for hiring?

>> i would be happy to take the money, but hiring decisions aren't made based on tax credits . it's made based on if we have work for that employee to do and if we can keep them working.

>> reporter: he's already brought back about half the workers he laid off and plans more hiring if business continues to pick up. small businesses like this one play a big role in the economy, employing more than 40% of all american workers. for many, the credit crunch is still real with 39% of them, about 10 million small businesses , unable to get adequate financing. that makes hiring a challenge.

>> we have to find a way to get the banks to get the money out there to where the people really need it.

>> reporter: mr. obama had an idea for doing that.

>> so tonight, i'm proposing that we take $30 billion of the money wall street banks have repaid and use it to help community banks give small businesses the credit they need to stay afloat.

>> reporter: mike sampson liked the sound of that.

>> frankly, that perked my ears up.

>> reporter: sampson's co-founder of a year-old high-tech start up with 13 employees. a tax credit could mean he would hire more sooner rather than later.

>> we have positions we could fill and part-time people we could convert into full time people. we absolutely could use the help.

>> reporter: hoping with enough help small businesses and perhaps the nation's economy will keep growing. john yang , nbc news, chicago.

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