Tuesday, March 16, 2010

SCORE and Experian Team Up to Help Small Businesses Build Healthy Credit

SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business” and Experian, the leading global information services company, join forces to offer “how to” resources that help entrepreneurs better understand their business credit profile and strengthen their credit score. As a newly recognized National Corporate Sponsor of SCORE, Experian will help promote financial health by sponsoring SCORE Expert Answers and a new eGuide on www.score.org.

The new eGuide, “Growing and Maintaining a Healthy Business Credit Score,” is now available for download under the “Financing Your Business” section at www.score.org. The eGuide is designed to educate business owners on the basics of their credit profile, as well as provide tips and resources about how business owners can effectively manage their credit.

SCORE CEO Ken Yancey says, “Small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs are looking for ways to increase financing to start and grow businesses as the economy recovers. Thanks to Experian, SCORE can offer new resources to support the success of small businesses across America.” Yancey adds, “SCORE counselors can help guide entrepreneurs through the process of reviewing their finances, getting loans and building their businesses.”

“Experian is committed to helping people and businesses understand their credit so that they can be better equipped to make wise financial decisions,” said Allen Anderson, president, Experian’s Business Information Services. “Making sure that your small business has a solid credit report is as important as maintaining a positive credit history in your personal life. In fact, when creditors are reviewing the creditworthiness of a small business, having a solid business credit history becomes critical to that business' success.”

SCORE Expert Answers is a monthly eNewsletter reaching more than 100,000 small business owners with small business and industry experts sharing secrets of success to help small businesses become more successful and profitable.

About SCORE
Since 1964, SCORE has helped more than 8.5 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through mentoring and workshops. More than 12,400 volunteer business counselors in 364 chapters serve their communities through entrepreneur education dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses.

For more information about starting or operating a small business, call 1-800/634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you. Visit SCORE on the web at
www.score.org and www.score.org/women.

About Experian

Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients in more than 65 countries. The company helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score and protect against identity theft.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended March 31, 2009, was $3.9 billion. Experian employs approximately 15,000 people in 40 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; Costa Mesa, California; and São Paulo, Brazil.

For more information, visit http://www.experianplc.com.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Senate Extends Small Business Loan Changes to Boost Job Creation

/PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today praised the Senate's extension of two important Recovery Act provisions: increased government guarantees and eliminated fees on small business loans. The measure - as well as a tax credit to help reservist employers - passed as part of the American Workers, State and Business Relief Act, the second in a series of bills that are part of the Senate's jobs agenda.

"Not only are the increased government guarantees and eliminated fees on small business loans being extended through the end of the year, but to ensure the programs do not run out of funding prematurely, I have worked hard to fully fund these programs at $620 million," Sen. Landrieu said. "While the provisions have already helped provide $18.2 billion in lending to more than 40,000 small businesses and helped to create more than 500,000 jobs in the last year, there are still many more small businesses that need loans. Funding the programs through the end of the year will help meet that demand and also help create or save hundreds of thousands of jobs. I'd like to thank Senators Baucus and Durbin for working with me to make sure this important provision was fully funded in this jobs bill."

Chair Landrieu, along with Ranking Member Olympia Snowe, included an extension of these provisions as part of S. 2869, The Small Business Job Creation and Access to Capital Act, that was voted out of Committee in early December. To read more about the bill, please click here.

The bill also included a provision that extends through 2010 a tax credit for small businesses that pay the salary differential to reservist employees called up for active duty. This small business tax credit provides incentive for small employers to eliminate any pay gap between civilian and military pay.

"As our soldiers serve far from home, they often take a cut in pay by switching from civilian to military payroll, leaving families to tighten their belts at an already tough time," Sen. Landrieu said. "This is not right. Our brave soldiers should not be penalized for serving America, nor should the small business owners who want to help their employees but are already suffering in these harsh economic times. With the extension of this important tax credit, our soldiers, their families, and the small businesses they work for will be protected from the fiscal burdens that come with active duty."

Senator Landrieu was a co-sponsor of the measure, originally introduced by Senator John Kerry, D-Mass., in November 2009.

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Isakson Votes to Help Small Businesses Create Jobs

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today criticized the Senate’s rejection of an amendment he co-sponsored that would have created and expanded a number of tax incentives designed to help small businesses create jobs.

The amendment was defeated by a vote of 38-61.

“Having run my own small business for over 30 years, I recognize the tremendous impact that federal policy can have on American business owners,” Isakson said. “It is important we enact policies that strengthen and stabilize our economy. I’m disappointed the Senate rejected this commonsense approach to helping the people and small businesses that make up the heart of the American economy.”

The amendment, which was offered by Senator John Thune, R-S.D., would have redirected unused stimulus funds to pay for several small business tax incentives, including a provision that would have allowed small businesses to pay off large expenditures for manufacturing equipment and other physical capital more easily.

The amendment also would have eliminated capital gains taxes on small business investments and provided a 20 percent deduction for small business income.

Isakson is a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and he spent more than three decades in the real estate business, beginning his business career in 1967 when he opened the first Cobb County, Ga., office of a small, family-owned real estate business, Northside Realty.
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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Postal Service Outlines 10-Year Plan to Address Declining Revenue, Volume

/PRNewswire/ -- Facing unprecedented volume declines and a projected, cumulative $238 billion shortfall during the next decade, Postmaster General John E. Potter today outlined an aggressive plan of cost cutting, increased productivity, and an array of legislative and regulatory changes necessary to maintain a viable United States Postal Service.

"The crisis we're facing gives us an historic opportunity to make changes that will lay the foundation for a leaner, more market responsive Postal Service that can thrive far into the future," Potter said, stressing that there is no one single answer or quick fix to the crisis.

The Postal Service examined revenue, volume and consumer trends; analyzed revenue and product opportunities employed by foreign posts; and examined more than 50 possible actions to realistically address volume declines that will not return, increasing health care and delivery costs, and dramatic changes to consumer behavior.

"The future depends on a suite of solutions that takes a balanced and reasonable approach, one that cuts across every aspect of our industry but one that, in the end, does the greatest possible good for our stakeholders and the American public," Potter said.

Mail volume is projected to fall from 177 billion in 2009 to 150 billion in 2020. That represents a 37 percent decline in First-Class Mail alone. Revenue contributed by First-Class Mail will plummet from 51 percent today to about 35 percent in 2020.

"Ensuring a Viable Postal Service for America," the Postal Service business plan, addresses these challenges, and describes a flexible, agile Postal Service that can adapt to America's changing mailing habits and preferences.

If the Postal Service takes no action, it will face a cumulative shortfall of $238 billion by 2020. But Potter outlined a number of actions that could amount to as much as $123 billion in savings during that same time period. These actions build on the Postal Service's record of saving more than $1 billion every year since 2001 and include continuing to aggressively control costs and eliminating hundreds of millions of work hours.

Despite these efforts, an estimated $115 billion shortfall will remain. The business plan identifies actions to close that gap:

-- Restructure retiree health benefits payments to be consistent with
what is used by the rest of the federal government and the majority of
the private sector and address overpayments to the Postal Service
Civil Service Retirement System pension fund.
-- Adjust delivery days to better reflect current mail volumes and
customer habits.
-- Continue to modernize customer access by providing services at
locations that are more convenient to customers, such as grocery
stores, pharmacies, retail centers, and office supply stores. Increase
and enhance customer access through partnerships, self-service kiosks
and a world-class Website.
-- Establish a more flexible workforce that is better positioned to
respond to changing demand patterns, as more than 300,000 employees
become eligible to retire in the coming decade.
-- Ensure that prices of Market Dominant mailing products are based on
demand for each individual product and its costs, rather than capping
prices for every class at the rate of inflation.
-- A modest exigent price increase will be proposed, effective in 2011.
-- Permit the Postal Service to evaluate and introduce more new products
consistent with its mission, allowing it to better respond to changing
customer needs and compete more effectively in the marketplace.


"Lifestyles and ways of doing business have changed dramatically in the last 40 years, but some of the laws that govern the Postal Service have not. These laws need to be modernized to reflect today's economic and business challenges and the dramatic impact the Internet has had on American life," Potter said.

The business plan is a path to the future, the Postmaster General said, a future where the Postal Service remains a vital driver of the American economy, an integral part of every American community and continues to deliver the greatest value of any comparable post in the world.

"If given the flexibility to respond to an evolving marketplace, the Postal service will continue to be an integral part of the fabric of American life," Potter said.

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