President Obama Visits Gelberg Signs

During visit to Washington D.C. signshop, he touts private-sector progress, proposed jobs bill
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On August 6, President Barack Obama toured Washington, DC-based Gelberg Signs and made remarks touting his proposed jobs bill and other programs established to aid small-business financing.

The President praised the company, which operates a 35,000-sq.-ft. facility and is owned by brothers Guy, Luc and Neil Brami (their father, Georges, was also a career Gelberg employee, according to the company’s site) as “a wonderful story of entrepreneurship.”

Obama specifically cited the company’s obtaining financing through the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 7(a) loan program, which helps small businesses obtain conditionally guaranteed loans for capital and infrastructure expenditures that may not be accessible through conventional lending channels, according to the SBA’s site, as well as its usage of the HIRE Act’s tax credit that, according to the President, enables businesses to bypass payroll taxes when hiring workers who were previously unemployed for 60 or more days. The President said approximately half of Gelberg’s hires this year met that requirement.

He also touted his proposed jobs bill, which he said would sustain create additional funds for small-business loans and offer tax cuts for capital investment. He briefly discussed the July jobs report, and cited the net growth of 71,000 jobs within the private sector during the month. However, the economy suffered net job loss of approximately 130,000, largely precipitated by Census worker layoffs.

Obama said, “Progress needs to come faster. Gelberg Signs is upbeat and hopeful about its future. We don’t want you guys to just survive. We want you to thrive.”

Guy praised the HIRE Act’s tax exemption, and said extending the Act, which is set to expire at the end of this year, would provide a tangible incentive to reduce unemployment. He added, “The most important thing the President could do for small businesses in general is to set policy that would help with access to capital; things like bringing in a moratorium on the SBA-backed loan fees, or implementing bonding programs for small businesses.”

International Sign Assn. president Lori Anderson said, “President Obama and his administration are to be commended for recognizing he vital role played by sign manufacturers in our nation’s economic recovery, as well as for providing them with the tools needed to bring their innovation, creativity and manufacturing expertise to the forefront of the battle to create new jobs in America.”

She continued, “Visible and effective, on-premise signs drive over 40% of all small-business, retail traffic, and can make the different between success and failure with start-up companies. The success of sign-company customers – local retailers, mom-and-pop shops, franchises and other small businesses – translates into more jobs for Americans.”

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