Jobs will be our number one focus in 2010. And we’re going to start where most new jobs do – with small businesses. These are the companies that begin in basements and garages when an entrepreneur takes a chance on his dream, or a worker decides it’s time she became her own boss.

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Small businesses like this have created roughly 65 percent of all new jobs over the past decade and a half. And I think we should make it easier for them to open their doors, expand their operations, and hire more workers. That’s why I’ve proposed a new tax credit for more than one million small businesses that hire new workers or raise wages – and a tax incentive for all businesses to invest in new plants and equipment. And while we’re at it, we should eliminate all capital gains taxes on small business investment, so these folks can get the capital they need to grow and create jobs.

That’s particularly critical right now, as bank lending standards have tightened, and many small businesses are struggling to get loans.

That’s why today, I’m announcing a proposal to take $30 billion of the money that was repaid by Wall Street banks, and use it to create a new Small Business Lending Fund that will provide capital for community banks on Main Street. These are the small, local banks that work most closely with our small businesses – that provide them their first loan, and watch them grow through good times and bad. The more loans these banks provide to creditworthy small businesses, the better a deal we’ll give them on capital from this Fund. Combined with my proposal back in December to continue waiving fees and increasing guarantees for SBA-backed loans, this will help small banks do even more of what our economy needs – ensure that small businesses are once again the engine of job growth in America.