Smaller firms need attention

March 6, 2009
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Dear Editor,

Thank you for sending a copy of the Grand Rapids Business Journal’s editorial focused on the needs of small businesses (Dec. 29, “A message to president, Congress — A remedy to a critical component). I am sorry for my delayed response. Congress, as you know, has been working on several economic recovery proposals.

First, let me say I am very disappointed in the implementation of the Emergency Economic Stabilization program and the lack of oversight and transparency. I am deeply concerned that Michigan banks and small businesses have not seen significant relief. I voted against the Administration’s request for additional funds to run this program and support legislation to make reforms to it (TARP Reform and Accountability Act, H.R. 384).

I appreciate knowing the Journal’s suggestion about waiving taxable events on 401(k) accounts, IRAs and personal savings accounts. I have brought this to the attention of Rep. Dave Camp, the senior Republican on the Committee on Ways and Means. I will continue to work with him and my colleagues in Congress to find solutions for our small business owners.

In addition, the recently enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides some benefits for small businesses. Details about these programs are available at and

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me. I will certainly keep the Journal’s views in mind as Congress continues to work on the stability of our financial markets and efforts to assist our small businesses during these difficult times.

Vernon J. Ehlers
Member of Congress

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