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.
Mino Raiola reportedly told a French radio station they had been given Martinez’s blessing for Lukaku to leave at the right price amid rumours of interest from Paris St Germain. But the Spaniard was unwilling to go into the issue, saying: ” I’m not here to try to do the job of agent. “I’m not going to entertain any sort of rumours and speculation. I have to do that during the transfer window, against my wishes, so as you can understand I’m quite happy now not to go into any comments.” Club-record signing Lukaku, 22, has made a good start to the season after an up-and-down first campaign as a permanent Everton player, scoring seven goals in 13 appearances. Martinez said: “With Romelu, it has been a joy to see him growing and developing from a very young age. “He’s had a very important role with us and now I feel he’s in the perfect moment to kick on and even take more responsibility on the pitch. “All that matters to everyone at Everton is Romelu can keep fulfilling that role, keep enjoying his football and being very important for the team.” Martinez was speaking at his pre-match press conference, the day after Everton bade an emotional farewell to Howard Kendall. Thousands of fans and Everton figures past and present attended Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral and Goodison Park to pay tribute to the 69-year-old, who died earlier this month. Martinez hopes the memories of Kendall’s glory years can inspire his players as they look to get back to winning ways in the Premier League against Sunderland on Sunday. Press Association The Everton boss said: “I thought it was an incredible event. We were all so proud and touched by the incredible reaction and the support that everyone showed around Howard’s career, Howard’s footprint at our football club, and then obviously to pay the respects to an incredible legend and an Everton giant. “There are great moments to sit back a little bit as a player, and everyone who has the privilege to represent Everton at this time has a unique source of inspiration. “You’re looking back at those big seasons, big moments full of emotion. Clearly for the players and everyone it’s the perfect inspiration to go forward.” Seamus Coleman is a major doubt for the match because of a stomach bug but his fellow full-back Leighton Baines is nearing a return after almost six months out. The 30-year-old has undergone two ankle operations but was set to return to full training on Friday along with midfielder Muhamed Besic, who has made only one Premier League appearance this season. Gareth Barry is back in contention following suspension, with Martinez set to revert to a more familiar line-up after ringing the changes for the Capital One Cup win over Norwich in midweek. Roberto Martinez talked up Romelu Lukaku’s importance to Everton following claims from his agent that the Toffees would sell if the right offer came in.