3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: April 11

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) - What's happening in small business today?

1. The International Franchise Association says the "Buffett Rule" would hurt franchisees. Franchise business owners could be stifled in their efforts to grow and create jobs if President Barack Obama's "Buffett Rule" passes, according to the organization.

The Buffett Rule is a tax increase on individuals -- and small-business owners that file their income on personal tax returns -- that make more than $1 million per year, proposed by the president on Tuesday.

More than 80% percent of franchise business owners are pass-through entities such as S corporations, LLCs and partnerships, according to an October survey by IFA. A permanent 5.6% income tax increase on households earning more than $1 million annually, such as the bill suggests would negatively impact 72% of franchisors and 43% of franchisees, the IFA says.

2. Here's another crowdfunding small business success story. Paul Sammut, a 25-year-old engineer, invented what The Associated Press calls the "world's most exasperating alarm clock" after trying to find a solution for his own troubles getting up in the morning.

The Ramos Alarm Clock essentially forces a person to get out of bed because the only way to shut it off is to punch in the day's date into its keypad.

Sammut made a video and posted it on Kickstarter to fund his project. So far he's raised more than $150,000 through the crowdfunding strategy and has more than 400 orders for the clock.

3. Banks increase lending to small businesses. Banks that participated in the Small Business Lending Fund boosted lending to small companies by $1.3 billion in the fourth quarter compared to the prior quarter.

New York-based banks specifically increased their small business lending by $243.2 million since receiving capital through the SBLF, according to a report by the Department of Treasury.

The SBLF, which was established as part of the Small Business Jobs Act that President Obama signed into law in 2010, encourages community banks to increase their lending to small businesses to help them grow and create new jobs.

The SBLF provides capital to community banks that hold less than $10 billion in assets. The dividend rate a community bank pays on SBLF funding is reduced as that bank increases its small business lending, providing incentive for new lending to small businesses, Treasury says.

To date, a total of $4.8 billion in loans have been to small businesses as a result of the fund, the Treasury says.

The State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), another program that was launched as part of the 2010 Act, has allocated $1.4 billion to small business programs across the country to help spur additional lending to small businesses and manufacturers.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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