Harrisburg – March 16, 2011 – Sen. Jim Brewster today introduced legislation that would expand the use of a successful state small business loan program.

“It is imperative that we do all we can to encourage business investment, expansion and job creation” Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) said. “My bill would increase the use and effectiveness of the Small Business First Loan program.

Administered by the state Department of Community and Economic Development, the program currently provides low-interest financing of up to $200,000 for land and building acquisition, construction, machinery/equipment purchases and working capital.

Under Brewster’s proposal, the program’s loan amounts would be increased by $50,000; interest rates reduced by an average of 0.5 percent; and loan periods expanded by up to three years to spur greater program use and make more funding accessible to small businesses.

Brewster, who worked for many years as a bank manager, said his legislation is part of the state Senate Democratic Caucus’ six-point “Pa Works” program. The package of bills would stoke Pennsylvania’s economy, create 28,000 jobs and cut state spending by $150 million. He said Pa Works would help small businesses be more competitive, strengthen and streamline workforce training programs, make targeted investments in clean and green energy industries, invest in public works projects, save money by streamlining government programs and lower small business taxes.

“We all agree that creating jobs is the key to improving our state’s economy,” Brewster said. “My legislation fits this bill by optimizing a proven business loan program.”

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