Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Statement by the President Upon Signing the Small Business Act Amendments of 1967.

October 11, 1967

AMERICA itself began as a small business. The first Virginia settlers came to these shores as a joint stock company.

As the Nation grew, so did the shops and factories that gave it commercial life. The earliest American dream--of being one's own boss in a land of unbounded opportunity-has remained a pillar of our economic strength.

Today, 95 percent of the businesses in the United States are small. They employ 4 out of every 10 of our wage earners. They provide a family income for more than 75 million Americans.

Through the Small Business Administration, your Government helps small businesses to grow and prosper. The neighborhood furniture store, the machine shop downtown, the new manufacturing plant in a depressed rural area--these and thousands of other small businesses have been given life through loans generated by the SBA.

Such loans have also helped many disadvantaged citizens take a productive role in our national life. Over 5,000 men and women with the will and talents and energy for business--but blocked by poverty--have started the road to success with SBA help.

Businesses ravaged by flood or disaster have been restored.

All this has meant better products for the consumer. It has brought jobs and broader opportunities.

The bill I sign today--S. 1862--shows this Nation's faith in the future of small business.

--It continues and expands the many worthwhile programs administered by SBA.

--It allows SBA to make more loans from its own funds, up $650 million to a new high of $2.65 billion. No increase in appropriations is involved.

--It extends from 10 to 15 years the repayment time for construction and renovation loans.

--It improves the small business investment companies which provide a vital flow of private capital to small businesses.

--It enlists the services of more retired businessmen, so that their still valuable skills and knowledge can be made available to greater numbers of small concerns.

--It will help to bring more businesses and more jobs into the ghettos, through lease guarantees. This is a vital part of our new program to engage private industry in special job training programs for the hard-core unemployed.

--It launches a comprehensive study of ways to protect the small businessman against criminal acts which endanger his business and often his life.

This bill, in short, strengthens the helping hand America extends to the Nation's small businessmen.

But I must point out that it becomes law at a time when the business community is imperiled by the threat of tight money.

To the businessman, a soaring interest rate is Public Enemy No. 1.

It affects all commerce, but its harshest impact falls on the little man who runs a small business.

He feels it first.

He feels it hardest.

He feels it longest.

The tax surcharge proposal now pending before the Congress can work to remove this threat.

No businessman welcomes a tax increase. No President enjoys proposing one.

But I believe that most businessmen would rather pay a little more in taxes than expose themselves to the uncertain and uneven effects of tight money and spiraling interest rates.

The tax measure I proposed last August will provide the restraint our economy needs in a fair and equitable way. It will permit businesses large and small to get the credit they need to continue to grow and prosper.

I remind the Congress and the country that the greatest service the Congress can now perform for American business, in my judgment, is to enact that legislation promptly before it is too late.

When that is done, the full potential of the bill I sign today will be unlocked.

Ours is a land where individual enterprise is highly honored. And the bill recognizes that no investment pays greater dividends to the taxpayer than this--to give a man the tools with which he can shape his own success.

Note: As enacted, the Small Business Act Amendments of 1967 (S. 1862) is Public Law 90-104 (81 Stat. 268).

The Revenue and Expenditure Control Act of 1968 was approved by the President on June 28, 1968 (Public Law 90-364, 82 Stat. 251).

Lyndon B. Johnson, Statement by the President Upon Signing the Small Business Act Amendments of 1967. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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