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Obama camp on small businesses

From NBC's Alex Wall
Fresh off Obama's speech on energy earlier today, his campaign wasted no time in attacking McCain on his small business plan. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee, and Obama campaign Director of Economic Policy Jason Furman called McCain's small business plan a "laundry list of benefits for corporate America," in a conference call this afternoon.

Furman blasted McCain's corporate tax proposal, which he said calls for $4 billion in tax breaks to oil companies (including $1.6 billion to ExxonMobil), while citing "McCain's lack of tax breaks for small businesses."

Velazquez added that most small-business owners wouldn't benefit from McCain's tax plan, arguing that the group makes up only 4% of the taxpayers in the top income bracket. She contrasted the two candidates by touting Obama's support for targeted investments into small business, while criticizing McCain for his lack of support for small business legislation.

"Sen. McCain is supporting the same tax policies that have been supported by President Bush," Velazquez said.

On Obama's tax proposals: Furman called Obama's plan an "overall business agenda" and pointed to two "key" small business tax credits in Obama's plan: (1) a health care tax credit, and (2) an exemption from the capital gains tax. When asked to define a cutoff for how small a business had to be to qualify for the health care credit, Furman said, "It would be more than 10 employees" yet wouldn't give an exact number before working with the Treasury.

"The key thing is to lower the cost of health care for small businesses," Furman said.