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Walz tours Brownsdale business to tout lending bill

BROWNSDALE — Uncertainty and a lack of financing are two of the biggest challenges facing small business owners, according to 1st District Rep. Tim Walz.

The Democratic congressman visited a Brownsdale business on Thursday to highlight those obstacles and discuss ways to solve them.

"It's folks here who are going to create jobs; it's folks here that are going to move the economy forward," Walz said.

He made his comments after touring IBI Data. The company provides marketing, incentive and product trial services for some of the nation's largest food-service companies. It was founded 25 years ago and employs more than 50 people.

Walz said he is hoping that the U.S. Senate will soon pass the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act, which the U.S. House approved in June. That bill would establish a $30 billion small business lending fund that would be invested in community banks, making it easier for small businesses such as IBI Data to get loans.


IBI Data President Katherine Harte said that she is planning to launch a new business and that getting access to loans in the current economy can be a challenge. She said another problem is figuring out how some government tax incentives and loan programs work. She said a website that explains the programs would be a good idea.

"Make it simple for us to understand what is going on in government," she said.

Harte said there is also considerable uncertainty about how the federal health care bill will affect her business.

"We've got a great health care program, and that is going to change," she said. "Is it going to work out well for us as owners? Is it going to work out for (our employees)? Who knows?"

Walz said he would like to see an iPhone application so businesses could learn about the health bill. Owners could input information about their business and find out how the reform will affect them.

"They are not necessarily opposed to (the bill); they want to understand the impact of it, and we can do a better job of it," he said.

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