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Obama Proposes Small Business Healthcare Tax Credits


U.S. Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama has proposed a tax credit for small business owners who offer health insurance to their employees.

The Senator from Illinois unveiled the proposal Sunday in San Diego, California, in a speech to the National Council of La Raza, a leading Hispanic civil rights group.

Documents detailing the tax credit note that while small businesses create most of the new jobs in the U.S. each year, they have been hard hit by the recent economic downturn, particularly in Latino communities.

Obama's presumed Republican opponent, Senator John McCain, is to address the same Hispanic group Monday, at 1945 UTC. A top McCain advisor described Obama's healthcare tax-credit proposal as short on details.

This is the third time in three weeks both men addressed major Hispanic organizations. Hispanic voters are expected to play a pivotal role in this year's presidential election.

Several battleground states have significant Latino populations, including Florida, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico.

In his speech, Obama said the Latino community "holds this election in your hands."

Both candidates also spoke out Sunday about the federal government's support for mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Obama said the government should give top priority to the interests of homeowners and taxpayers not just shareholders or investors. McCain said he believes that problems at the government-sponsored housing lenders cannot be permitted to spill over into the financial markets.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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