Eyes across the nation turned last night to President Obama's State of the Union address, which focused primarily on job creation and the economy. And, as you'll see from the local reactions below, those issues are weighing heavily on the minds of the leaders who make up O.C.'s business community.
Photo courtesy of the White House
But Obama was positive as he outlined a number of measures geared toward giving the economy a much-needed boost and restoring it to health.
"The true engine of job creation in this country will always be America's businesses," he noted. "We should start where most new jobs do – in small businesses, companies that begin when an entrepreneur takes a chance on a dream, or a worker decides its time she became her own boss."
Obama proposed taking $30 billion of the money Wall Street financial institutions have paid back and putting it toward smaller community banks to help give small businesses the credit they need.
Obama also touched on health care and education, among other issues, that are key to the local and national economy.
He noted that health care reform – something he's pushed hard for throughout his presidency – is still needed. He said it is a "problem" that's not going away, and he called on Congress to "finish the job."
Another key topic: Education. Obama proposed a $10,000 tax credit for four-year college students, as well as an increase in Pell Grants.
"In the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college," stated Obama. "And it’s time for colleges and universities to get serious about cutting their own costs – because they too have a responsibility to help solve this problem."
Here's a roundup of what local business professionals and leaders had to say about some of those measures, and keep checking back: OC METRO will be updating this throughout the day.
"I wanted to hear what the president had to say about small businesses. I represent one of the most vibrant small business districts in the U.S., and in my mind, he needed to outline a plan that will help my constituents start, build and grow their firms. ... I was pleased that the president proposed taking the money Wall Street banks have repaid from their bailouts and using it to help community banks lend to small businesses. We need to break the credit dam and this is certainly one way to do it." – 47th District Rep. Loretta Sanchez
"The president made clear in the State of the Union that small businesses are key to creating jobs and to our nation’s economic recovery. ... However, unemployment is still too high, and the middle class is working harder for less. This administration is focused on helping small businesses continue to create good, well-paying jobs. This is good for O.C. as it is full of entrepreneurial-minded individuals and innovative firms in industries that can support those well paying jobs, like hi-tech and bio-med." – Rachel Baranick, deputy director of the Small Business Administration's Santa Ana District office
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