BETHLEHEM, PA — U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) today participated in a roundtable discussion with local small business leaders in Allentown. Conversation at the event, organized by Lehigh Valley members of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), focused on ways Congress can help reinvigorate the American economy by supporting small business growth.

“Clearly, our nation will depend on small businesses to jump start our economic recovery,” Dent explained. “I learned today that many of these businesses are eager to expand, but hesitant to invest in their own growth because today’s economic environment is dominated by a sense of uncertainty. Congress has unfortunately contributed to this uncertainty by failing to address the looming tax increases, imposing burdensome new mandates and spending beyond our means.”

Participants in the discussion expressed concern over the impending expiration of tax provisions that have helped them invest greater resources into the development of their businesses. Congressional leaders, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, have not committed to extending current tax relief provisions that are set to expire on January 1, 2011, worrying many small business leaders that they may soon face devastating tax increases on top of taxes and other costs imposed by the health care law.

In addition to expressing his support for extending current tax relief provisions, Dent discussed other ways he believes Congress can help local businesses grow, including passing two bills he has cosponsored:

  • H.R. 5554, the Small Business Assistance and Relief Act, would help small business owners dedicate greater resources to hiring employees, purchasing new equipment, and conducting innovative research, while reducing the excessive amount of time they devote to completing paperwork created by onerous federal mandates.
  • H.R. 5109, the Small Business Bill of Rights, would provide additional tax relief by eliminating capital gains on small business stock for 10 years, implementing a 5 year small business exemption from the harmful death tax, and providing the same tax advantages large employers receive for purchasing health insurance to self-employed individuals.

Dent also touted his support for efforts to increase tax deductions associated with start-up expenses for new businesses. These proposals include increasing the deduction from the current level of $5,000 to $20,000 and increasing the phase-out threshold at which deductions would begin to be reduced from $50,000 to $75,000.