On a recent tour of Wide World of Indoor Sports, U.S. Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Regional Administrator Jeanne Hulit congratulated owners Stephen Sangermano and Dan Faucet on their success using SBA loans to build the North Smithfield facility, create jobs, and help strengthen the Rhode Island economy.
Wide World of Indoor Sports (WWIS) received a $1.7 million SBA 504 loan and a $654,000 SBA 7(a) loan to build their indoor sports facility, which created approximately 80 full- and part-time jobs. The 93,000 sq. ft. climate-controlled center serves as a state-of-the-art training facility for all ages and abilities, with five non-boarded fields for sports including soccer, lacrosse, flag football, baseball, volleyball and more.
Sangermano and Faucet are preparing to open a second facility in Rhode Island, and Cicilline and Hulit met with the owners this week to hear how certain provisions of the American Jobs Act would help WWIS create even more jobs in the state.
President Barack Obama unveiled the Jobs Act in Congress Sept. 8, a bill which supporters say will help America's small businesses grow through tax cuts and incentives.
"We need to get capital in the hands of Rhode Island small businesses, the proven job creators and backbone of our economy. Many provisions in the American Jobs Act when coupled with successful SBA programs, like the 7(a) and 504 loans, will be a welcome shot in the arm for entrepreneurs and existing small businesses seeking to expand and create new jobs," said Cicilline. "In part, the American Jobs Act would help put more dollars in the pockets of employees and consumers, and help our small businesses recover and grow."
The Act would provide tax credits for businesses that hire workers who have been unemployed for six months, unemployed veterans, and service-disabled veterans. In addition, the legislation would cut small business payroll taxes in half for the 98% of firms with payrolls of $5 million and below, while also temporarily eliminating employer payroll taxes for small businesses that create jobs. These provisions would help small businesses like Wide World of Indoor Sports hire more workers and boost Rhode Island's economic recovery.
"With the American Jobs Act, we now have powerful, specific proposals that will put America back to work," said Jeanne A. Hulit, SBA New England Regional Administrator. "If the act is passed, other small businesses like Wide World Sports will be in a much better position to hire more employees and promote their best workers."
Detractors of the bill have questioned an inclusion which would make it unlawful for a business with 15 or more employees to refuse a person a job "because of the individual's status as unemployed." The provision aims to help the 6 million Americans that are "long-term unemployed," and are finding that companies are hesitant to hire them. Some businesses even make a practice of stating in job listings that they will not accept applicants who are not currently employed. Opponents fear, in part, the potential for lawsuits by unqualified applicants.
At WWIS in North Smithfield, the proprietors just look at the potential benefits from the act as a great way to put more Rhode Islanders to work.
"With the help of the SBA, we plan to pursue another 504 loan to open a second facility here in Rhode Island, and the tax credits for new employees that would be made available through the American Jobs Act would help us create more jobs," said Stephen Sangermano, owner of WWIS.
"I would like to thank Stephen and Dan for being visionaries and amazing entrepreneurs, bringing this business to life and creating jobs here in Rhode Island," said Cicilline. "Success stories such as this demonstrate why the SBA and access to capital is so important, and why we need to continue fighting for immediate action on the American Jobs Act."