Filed under: Small business

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Daley’s budget calls for scaling back the head tax

Chicago employers would see modest tax relief under Mayor Richard Daley’s proposed 2011 budget plan, which calls for scaling back of the payroll head tax.

Employers now are required to pay $4 a month for every employee who earns at least $900 per quarter. Under Daley’s proposal, the tax would apply only for employees earning at least $4,300 per quarter, the amount a full-time minimum-wage worker would earn. Get the full story »

Nobel winner Mortensen chides ‘dysfunctional’ lenders

A U.S. labor economist awarded the Nobel Prize in economics on Monday said a “dysfunctional” lending environment has made it hard for small service businesses — the source of most jobs — to finance hiring.

Northwestern University professor Dale Mortensen, whose work focused on labor market inefficiencies that make it difficult for workers to match up to job openings, said employers have fewer jobs to offer and government can do only so much about it.

“To bring unemployment down we need to create service jobs,” Mortensen said, speaking to reporters from Aarhus University in Denmark, where he is a visiting faculty member. Get the full story »

American Express sued by U.S. over card fees

The Justice Department sued American Express on Monday for allegedly violating antitrust law over credit card acceptance rules, and settled with Visa and MasterCard on the same issue.

The Justice Department, in a filing with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, said the case was focused on credit card companies’ efforts to stop merchants from steering customers to credit cards with lower fees imposed on the merchant.

In a proposed final judgment, Visa and MasterCard must allow merchants to offer discounts to customers who use cards that charge the stores less. Get the full story »

Bank investor group seeks to cater to Russian, Eastern European Jews locally

A group of investors wants to invest about $10 million into Maywood-based First Suburban National Bank, and if it’s successful it wants to cater to Russian and Eastern European Jewish customers in the area, according to documents filed with the Federal Reserve. Get the full story »

Local bank whose CEO met with Obama must raise capital

A Chicago-area bank whose chief executive met with President Obama last December to discuss small-banking matters has been ordered by the nation’s thrift regulator to maintain certain capital levels, among other things.

Matt Gambs, who in 2008 joined Schaumburg-based Diamond Bank as its new chief executive, said that earlier this week members of its board of directors, including existing investors, pumped $1 million in fresh capital into the closely held lender, which also has a branch near the intersection of Clark and North in Chicago. Get the full story »

Obama signs bill giving small business tax cuts

Bloomberg News | President Barack Obama signed legislation that will cut taxes and provide credit help for small businesses, calling it an essential step for job growth in a slow economy. Get the full story »

Scaled-back small business aid bill sent to Obama

The Democratic-controlled Congress on Thursday sent President Barack Obama a long-delayed bill to help struggling small businesses with easier credit and other incentives to expand and hire new workers.

The $40 billion-plus bill is the last vestige of the heralded jobs agenda that Obama and Democrats promoted this year. They ended up delivering only a fraction of that after emboldened Senate Republicans blocked most of the agenda with filibusters. Get the full story »

Senate passes small business credit measure

The Senate has passed a bill to create a $30 billion U.S. government fund to help open lending for credit-starved small businesses, cut their taxes and boost federal loan programs for them. The 61-38 tally rewards President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress Hill with a long-sought victory and sets the stage for a final vote in the House, which is likely to approve it for Obama’s signature.

IBM to help small businesses compete for contracts

Tech giant IBM said Tuesday it will set up a website at early next year with a single, standard application for small companies to bid on contracts at AT&T Inc., Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp., Pfizer Inc. and UPS Inc. That means small businesses won’t have to invest the time and money in preparing multiple bids.

Schutt Sports files for Chapter 11

Litchfield-based Schutt Sports Inc., a maker of football helmets, face guards and other protective sports gear, said today that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

“This process will allow us to continue operating our business as usual and to continue servicing our customers without disruption,” Schutt Chief Executive Robert Erb said. ” We have the support of our bank, a great brand and look forward to strengthening our balance sheet and serving our customers for years to come.” Get the full story »

Future hiring will mainly benefit the high-skilled

Whenever companies start hiring freely again, job-seekers with specialized skills and education will have plenty of good opportunities. Others will face a choice: Take a job with low pay — or none at all. Get the full story »

Obama proposes tax breaks for business investment

President Barack Obama will call on Congress to pass new tax breaks that would allow businesses to write off 100 percent of their new capital investments through 2011, the latest in a series of proposals the White House is rolling out in hopes of jump-starting economic growth ahead of the November elections.

Notebook: Canning’s son opens grocery store

In 2006, Madison Dearborn Partners LLC Chairman John Canning told the Tribune that he’d love to see his son, then a chef in Boston, return to Chicago to start his own business.

The private equity executive has gotten his wish.

Tim Canning, 34, has opened Lemon Tree Grocer about 100 yards from the Metra stop in Downers Grove. The high-end market has more than 40 full- and part-time workers, including a butcher that can work his way through a whole cattle and explain cuts of beef. It’s the first business that the younger Canning has started. Get the full story »

FDIC: Loan picture improves, but troubles remain

The U.S. loan picture improved slightly during the second quarter, with the amount of loans 90 days or more past due declining for the first time in more than four years, bank regulators said on Tuesday.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp revealed some encouraging figures about the bank industry, saying the sector earned $21.6 billion during the quarter largely due to banks putting away less money to cover expected loan losses. Get the full story »

Obama makes small-business tax cuts Job 1

President Barack Obama says Congress should make passing a long-languishing aid package to small business its first order of business when it gets back from summer vacation.

He said in remarks in the Rose Garden Monday that he’ll also have other specific ideas on the nation’s teetering economy in the days and weeks ahead. Get the full story »