Rep. Peter Welch unveiled legislation Monday morning aimed at freeing up credit to small businesses by expanding a successful Small Business Administration loan program. At Burlington s Chittenden Bank, Welch and members of Vermont s business and banking communities outlined details of Welch s bill, which is intended to bolster the popular SBA Express Loan Program. By increasing the SBA Express program s current cap of $350,000 to $2 million, the legislation would significantly increase access to credit for Vermont s small businesses. Welch will introduce his bill in the House this week.Small business owners throughout Vermont have struggled since the start of the current economic crisis with securing and retaining lines of credit. At a small business roundtable in Bennington last month, business owners told Welch that the tight credit environment was the single greatest difficulty they faced in expanding their businesses. Vermont small businesses need access to credit in order to weather this economic storm and right now, they don t have that, Welch said. By expanding the highly successful SBA Express Loan Program, I believe we can give our small businesses a key tool to survive these difficult economic times.Established in 1995 to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of SBA s lending programs, SBA Express reduces the amount of required paperwork and accelerates the approval process for small businesses. Because it significantly reduces costs for lending institutions, SBA Express has thrived during the economic crisis, even as other lending programs have not. The program s current loan cap of $350,000, however, has constrained the potential of SBA Express, experts agree.Bennington Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Joanne Erenhouse and Chittenden Bank SBA Loan Officer Robin Shanahan joined Welch at Monday s event to reiterate the importance for both small businesses and lenders of expanding SBA Express. Franklin County Regional Development Corporation Executive Director Tim Smith and Rutland Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Jamie Stewart also attended the event.Source: Welch’s office.
USC secured an outright Pac-10 championship Saturday following a 4-3 win over crosstown rival UCLA — its first road win against the Bruins since 2004.“They are our biggest rivals,” said freshman Emilio Gomez. “It’s like you have to win. You have to be ready. Winning this here is amazing. I’m so proud of our team.”After winning the doubles point with victories at the No. 1 and No. 3 spots, things became increasingly difficult for the Trojans (21-2, 6-0).On the front courts, only junior Steve Johnson was able to walk away with the win, beating Daniel Kosakowski 6-4, 6-1, while junior Daniel Nguyen and senior Jaak Poldma lost, 4-6, 7-6.After losing his first set, Poldma lost the match for the first time this season in a grueling back-and-forth second set, which he ultimately lost to Amit Inbar.Playing at No. 6 for the Trojans was senior Peter Lucassen, who won his first set but lost his second and third sets 6-4 and 6-1, eventually falling to UCLA’s Maxime Tabatruong. Freshmen Ray Sarmiento and Gomez were at No. 4 and No. 5, and both lost their first sets.Sarmiento would make a decisive comeback in his second set, beating Adrien Puget 6-4. Gomez, too, was able to extend the match to three sets against Holden Seguso. “We were down and with Ray we came back,” Gomez said.Sarmiento ended his match first, winning 2-6, 6-4, 6-2. With two matches remaining, USC led 3-2.All eyes were on Gomez, who was up 4-3 in the third, but lost a game to the Bruins’ Seguso to even things up 4-4. The crowd went wild, swapping rivalry chants as Gomez secured a 5-4 edge after several grueling deuce points were played. He eventually prevailed 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.“At the beginning, I was uncomfortable on the court,” Gomez said. “I kept fighting though. At first I was more defensive, and then I attacked.”