Gay business leaders join other business leaders, meet with President
The leadership of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) joined other leading U.S. business executives and organizations on Jan. 28 to discuss President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package with his top advisors, including Jason Berman, the White House's economic policy director.
The leadership then heard directly from President Obama. "Our participation at Wednesday's meeting is a clear demonstration of the Obama Administration's work to actively engage the LGBT community on all issues of importance to LGBT business owners and their families," said Justin Nelson, president and co-founder of the NGLCC. "After being held at arm's length for most of the previous Administration's two terms, our inclusion is a clear signal that the Obama team knows that there is much more to LGBT people than just being LGBT," Nelson added.
"We let the President and his team know that he had our support in his plan to stimulate the economy and we thanked him for a plan that includes support for the small business engine that runs the American economy," said NGLCC CEO and Co-Founder Chance Mitchell.
Nelson, Mitchell, NGLCC Board Chairman Walter Schubert and other small business leaders were joined at President Obama's briefing by top business executives, including Greg Brown, president and co-CEO of Motorola, Inc., David M. Cote, chairman and CEO of Honeywell, Anne Mulcahy, chairman and CEO of Xerox, Sam Palmisano, chairman, CEO and president of IBM, Antonio Perez, chairman and CEO of Eastman Kodak Co., Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO of Google, and Ron Williams, CEO of Aetna.
NGLCC noted the inclusion of access to capital and tax relief for small businesses in the plan. The package would extend bonus depreciation, allowing businesses to immediately recover the costs of capital expenditures, as well as giving small businesses the opportunity to write off up to $125,000 of those capital expenditures. In addition, the plan contains $430 million for new direct lending and loan guarantee authorities to make loans more attractive to lenders and free up capital.
The stimulus plan passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday January 29th, 2009 and is currently being considered by the U.S. Senate.