Biden visits Solon, promotes jobs plan

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Nick Glunt, Michael Holden

Video by Michael Holden

KentWired Video

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Vice President Joe Biden announced a three-year commitment plan by 13 private lenders to increase small business loans by a total of $20 billion at a speech delivered Tuesday at Wrap-Tite, Inc., in Solon.

Small businesses, he said, are the “real engines of our economy.” They grow the middle class, which influences both the lower and upper classes.

“The middle class,” Biden said, “is the single most defining feature of the United States of America.”

Biden spoke alongside Sharon Mills, administrator of the Small Business Administration. The SBA gives loans to small businesses to help them grow — allowing them to boost revenue, to increase spending and to hire new workers.

Wrap-Tite, which produces stretch wrap and other packaging materials, recently took a $1.5 million SBA loan. Wrap-Tite President Sunil Daga said the loan heavily aided the small business.

“With the help of SPA,” Daga said, “small businesses like us can invest in local communities… and (can) bring back manufacturing and jobs, right here in the United States.”

As a result, Wrap-Tite has grown by 20 percent over the last year, Daga said. He added the loan also allowed the company to transfer to an 87,000 square-foot facility from two separate locations (which totaled about a fifth of that space).

At the new facility, Daga was able to purchase $250,000 worth of new equipment. He was able to hire on five new workers due to the growing revenues, and he said he wants to hire more.

The 13 lending partners — many of which are major banks — are aiding in the creation of jobs, Mills said. These loans aid economic growth at the local level, he said.

“We’re here because we need more success stories just like this,” Mills said. “We know that small businesses were really hard-hit by the recession and the credit crunch — especially under-served businesses, minority businesses.”

By visiting Wrap-Tite, Biden and Mills promoted President Barack Obama’s $447 billion jobs plan. They presented Wrap-Tite as an example of what the jobs plan could do if passed by Congress.

The American Jobs Act, if passed, would help small businesses grow in part by including significant tax cuts. Essentially, businesses like Wrap-Tite would have strong incentive to hire on new workers.

“(For) SPA borrowers overall, not only are they using the program, but it’s performing,” said audience member Julie Huston, president of the San Diego-based U.S. Bank SBA Division. “It’s kind of crazy. I think people kind of see it as a last resort program, (but) it’s probably one of the only avenues for providing capital for small business right now in this country.”

Biden and Mills said that, though many small businesses don’t make it, Obama’s jobs plan should help to keep the middle class and its small businesses afloat.

“The only way we’re going to turn the vicious economic cycle we’ve been in into a virtuous one,” Biden said, “is by cutting taxes on our small businesses and making sure they can get the loans they need to grow and hire more workers.”

Contact Nick Glunt at [email protected].