Obama to talk small-business agenda in Buffalo

EconomyNext stop on President Barack Obama’s Main Street economic tour is a visit to western New York, a region that was already in decline long before the recession hit.

Citing last week’s economic reports showing job growth in the U.S. for the fourth straight month, the president planned to make the case that his efforts to rescue the economy are working, despite an unemployment rate that continues to hover near 10 percent. The president also was to focus on his administration’s efforts to help small businesses during a three-hour stop in Buffalo on Thursday.

Obama began his White House to Main Street tour in December with a trip to Allentown, Pa. He has also made stops in Charlotte, N.C., Savannah, Ga., and Quincy, Ill. In Buffalo, he was to tour Industrial Support Inc., a growing manufacturing company, and talk to employees about his economic agenda.

The president long has said he believes the success of small businesses will be vital to the nation’s economic recovery. During his remarks in Buffalo, Obama was expected to urge Congress to act quickly on new job creation measures that could strengthen small businesses.

Last week, the president sent Congress a proposal to create a $30 billion support program to unfreeze credit for small businesses. The health care overhaul he signed into law in March also included tax credits for small businesses, and the president has said those already are reaching some companies.

Help for small businesses would be especially welcome in cities like Buffalo, where large corporations have downsized and manufacturing jobs have been shipped overseas. Western New York long has suffered from a lack of job growth and population losses.

Nearly 60 percent of registered voters in upstate New York say the state’s economy is getting worse, according to a poll conducted this month by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. Just 11 percent believe the state’s economy is improving.

Obama also was meeting briefly with several people who lost family members in a 2009 plane crash in a Buffalo suburb. The families have been pushing for changes in aviation safety regulations in the wake of the crash, which killed 50.

From Buffalo, Obama was to travel to New York City to attend a Democratic congressional fundraiser before returning to Washington late Thursday.

Source: The Associated Press.