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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Weekly Presidential Radio Address

Aired September 20, 2003 - 10:52   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(BEGIN AUDIOTAPE)
BUSH: Good morning. Every day, millions of Americans put in long hours building businesses of their own. Their hard work strengthens the economy, creates most of the new jobs in America, and supplies the innovation that drives our future prosperity.

As we mark National Small Business Week, our nation honors the enterprise and hard work of small business owners and employees. Small businesses are a key to upward mobility, particularly for women and minorities. There are over three million minority-owned small businesses across America, and that number is rising. And women-owned businesses now employ more than nine million Americans.

For the sake of all small businesses, and our entire economy, my administration is pursuing an aggressive pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda. The tax relief I have signed since I took office will save 25 million small business owners an average of more than $2,800 this year. Income tax relief is particularly helpful for business owners who pay their business taxes at their individual income tax rates. We have reduced the burden of unnecessary regulation on small business and we have passed much-needed incentives for investment in new equipment, which will help our small businesses grow and create high-paying jobs.

These policies are working. A recent survey of small businesses shows rising optimism among owners, evidence of improving sales and more plans to invest and hire new workers. This is good news for our communities and good news for people looking for work. Still, there is more to be done. I have proposed a six-point plan to create jobs, strengthen small businesses, and building employer confidence.

First, people are more likely to find work if we can control health care costs. We can help by allowing small businesses to ban together and pool their risks, so they have the bargaining power of big companies. Also, I have proposed reasonable limits on the lawsuits that are raising health care costs for everyone.

Second, we need to address the broader problems of frivolous litigation. We need effective legal reforms that will make sure that settlement money from class actions and other litigation goes to those harmed and not to trial lawyers.

Third, we need a sound, national energy policy. Growing businesses depend on affordable and reliable supplies of energy and a modern electrical grid so we can avoid crippling blackouts. I submitted an energy bill to the Congress two years ago, and it is time for Congress to pass it so I can sign it into law.

Fourth, we must continue to reduce the burden of needless regulation on employers. My administration's policy is to make sure every proposed regulation does not place an undue burden on the small businesses of America.

Fifth, we are encouraging trade by opening markets for our goods and services. When the rules are fair and enforced and the playing field is level, our workers, farmers, ranchers, and small business owners can compete with anybody in the world.

Sixth, we need to make sure tax relief is permanent. Businesses and families need to have the confidence that all the benefits of tax relief will not disappear in coming years. And small business owners, ranchers, farmers, want the death tax buried for good.

Over the past two years, Americans have been tested at home and abroad. But our confidence and optimism have never wavered. We are defending the peace of the world. We are building the prosperity of our country, and we are turning loose the great energy and enterprise of one of the nation's greatest strengths, the drive and determination of our entrepreneurs.

Thank you for listening.

(END AUDIOTAPE)

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