Washington, D.C. – Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), the Ranking Member of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), the outgoing Chairman of the Committee, and Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.), the incoming Chair, today introduced the Small Business Act of 2009. This bipartisan legislation provides immediate tax relief for small businesses making vital investments in new equipment to further weather the current economic storm.

“Expensing has long served as a critical tool to grow the economy and create new jobs. At a time in which we find ourselves in a recession and our nation’s small businesses are having trouble finding capital to make job-creating new investments, we simply cannot allow this tax incentive to expire,” Senator Snowe said. “By increasing small business expensing and establishing a five year carryback for net operating losses, this measure will pack a powerful punch and assist America’s 26 million small firms that represent 99.7 of all employers.”

“This law has helped small businesses acquire the tools they need to thrive and grow,” said Senator Kerry. “Extending the provision isn’t only justified, it’s sorely needed in an economic climate where small businesses are hurting.”

“It is my hope that Congress will move quickly on this legislation to ensure that our nation’s small businesses can weather the current economic downturn,” Senator Landrieu said. “By increasing the expensing limits and extending the net operating loss carryback period, we can provide timely and much needed relief to our small businesses.”

Last year, Congress passed and the president signed into law the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, which allowed American small businesses to expense up to $250,000 of their investments, including the purchase of new equipment through 2009. The Snowe-Kerry initiative would extend Section 179 of the tax code, increased small business expensing, through 2010 and establish a five year carryback for net operating losses.