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BUDGETING

Business Groups Mixed on Bailout

The $700 billion plan to rescue Wall Street has smaller firms worried about footing the bill.
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Small-business groups are grudgingly supporting a $700 billion federal plan aimed at easing the fallout from the collapse of the nation's largest financial firms earlier this month, though many are worried about footing the bill.

As House and Senate lawmakers this week reached a tentative agreement on the plan, led by President Bush, small-business trade and lobby groups urged officials to ensure the costs to taxpayers wouldn't have a negative impact on smaller firms.

The National Association for the Self Employed, a Washington-based trade group, said it supports quick action to help stabilize the economy, so long as the plan is fair to taxpayers and micro-businesses.

"Big business, just like small business, should be held accountable for the actions that have led to this current financial crisis," Kristie Darien, the group's director, said in a statement.

The National Federation of Independent Business said fixing the financial crisis was a priority for small businesses, but that larger issues remained.

"The first step is to pass responsible legislation to stabilize the U.S. financial markets," Todd Stottlemyer, the lobby group's CEO, said in a statement. Once the immediate crisis was over, he added, Congress should seek long-term measures to fix the nation's ailing financial system.

Other small-business groups are calling for a more cautious approach.

"If the federal government and Congress are going to do something as massive and stunning as what we've seen on paper, these actions have to be thoroughly vetted, " said Karen Kerrigan, CEO of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, a Washington-based policy group.

Kerrigan said the $700 billion plan appeared to be "driven by panic" and timed for the presidential campaign trail. "This is no way to govern," she said.

Last updated: Sep 25, 2008




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