Alexi Giannoulias and a Mark Kirk proxy held dueling conference calls Friday morning to debate Kirk’s vote against the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act, which created a lending fund for small businesses, and provided them with $12 billion in tax cuts. The bill passed Thursday over Republican opposition.
“Congressman Kirk believes that tax cuts for the wealthy are the best way to get our economy moving again,” Giannoulias said. “There’s a name for his theory. It’s called trickle-down economics. Unfortunately, we know how that turned out. After eight years of Bush/Kirk trickle-down economics, we’ve seen skyrocketing debt, ballooning unemployment and the wealthy becoming wealthier while everyone else is being left behind. Yesterday finally offered Congressman Kirk a chance to correct his abysmal economic record.”
Ward Room asked Giannoulias whether the bill would have helped his family’s Broadway Bank, and how it will help banks in similar situations.
“Community banks are being decimated by this recession,” Giannoulias said. “We’ve seen community banks that were forced to close their doors. The ones that are still in business have been told to increase their lean loss reserves. The goal behind this bill is to provide $30 billion to provide liquidity to these banks. This is a common-sense bill to inject some liquidity into these banks.”
To defend his vote, Kirk’s campaign arranged a conference call with Brad Close, vice president of public policy for the National Federation of Independent Businesses, a small business group in Washington, D.C.
Close said his group’s 10,000 members are more concerned with income tax cuts and labor issues than loans, so he didn’t fault Kirk for voting against the bill.
“Most of our members have told us that they don’t want more loans, they don’t want more credit,” he said.
Instead, they’re opposed to the health care law, card check legislation, and, especially, President Obama’s plan to allow tax cuts for Americans earning over $250,000 to expire. Kirk opposes that plan, while Giannoulias favors it.
“The tax rates are the top issue,” Close said. “Most of our members are going to pay their taxes on the individual rate. You’re looking at folks in the 20 to 240 employee range. If Congress fails to extend all the rates, it’s going to hit small business hard.”