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A Look At Small Business Legislation In Congress

By The Associated Press

Small business bills and proposals introduced in the first two months of the 113th Congress aren't the sweeping legislation seen in recent years â¿¿ like last year's Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act â¿¿ a law that aimed to give companies new ways to get investment money.

With the exception of a House proposal to change tax laws that affect small business, lawmakers have been targeting relatively narrow issues. That's because Congress is preoccupied with the federal budget deficit, and is avoiding legislation that would add to it, says Todd McCracken, CEO of the National Small Business Association, a lobbying group.

"They're focused on things that don't cost money. It seems like they're nibbling around the margins a little," McCracken says.

Some of the new bills are reintroductions of legislation that died in the last Congress, or are revisions of existing laws.

Here is a look at some of the legislation that would affect small business:

SMALL BUSINESS TAXES

The House Ways and Means Committee has put together a bipartisan draft of tax proposals aimed at helping small businesses. Most prominent is a proposal to increase and make permanent what's called the Section 179 deduction, which allows businesses to deduct equipment expenses. The draft also includes suggestions that the deduction for startup costs be doubled, to $10,000 from $5,000; that tax return filing deadlines be pushed back for small corporations; and that the tax differences be minimized or eliminated between two types of companies that have many similarities, partnerships and what are called S corporations. The committee released the draft for public comment. If it proceeds with the proposals, they could be part of an overall tax reform bill. Small business advocates generally welcomed the proposals, but some said lowering overall tax rates is a more important step that would help small business.

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