Washington - Senator John F. Kerry, chairman of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today hosted a roundtable discussion with members of the entrepreneurial community to discuss barriers confronting small businesses, tax considerations which affect labor and capital investment decisions and legislative proposals to stimulate small business investment.

"The financial avenues open to rapidly expanding small businesses are increasingly limited. Small-business owners take considerable risks when setting out to finance a growing company, often using personal savings and credit. It is our job to foster small-business opportunities and innovation by helping companies attract outside capital and retain more of their earnings for reinvestment. "This roundtable is a springboard to advance policies that improve the chances of survival and of success for those wish to live out the American Dream. By hearing directly from the small-business community, we can continue to craft legislation that keeps pace with the funding challenges encountered by today's entrepreneur.

"Of particular importance is ensuring access to capital and promoting capital formation for small businesses. The bipartisan BRIDGE Act and the Affordable Small Business Stimulus Act - by harnessing market-driven solutions - frees rapidly expanding entrepreneurial businesses from the constraints of unmet capital funding and stimulates small-business investment through earning retention and capital gains incentives - - thereby bridging the capital funding gap and mobilizing resources for small businesses." The discussion provided an opportunity for the entrepreneurial community to discuss their needs and concerns, as well as how the existing two pieces of legislation Kerry has introduced will provide incentives for small business investment and growth.

The BRIDGE Act (Business Retained Income Growth and Expansion Act), sponsored by Senators Kerry, Snowe, Lieberman, Bennett and Bingaman provides aid to entrepreneurial forms financing their growth and expansion and is designed to help companies which lack the size or long track record to tap into capital markets. The proposal, still stalled in the House, will allow small, fast-growing businesses to temporarily defer a portion of their federal income tax liability up to $250,000 - repayable with interest over a four-year period.

Kerry's second piece of legislation, the Affordable Small Business Stimulus Act, among other provisions, would provide capital gains incentives for equity investments in small business stock. The bill expands current tax code to provide an exclusion for capital gains of 75 percent generally 100 percent for investments in critical technologies, including transportation security, environmental, and antiterrorism technologies.