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Mr. CASEY. Madam President, I wish to commend the senior Senator from Louisiana not only for her work on this legislation but for her many years laboring in the vineyard, so to speak, on small business issues and job-creation strategies to help our small business owners across the United States.
I rise to speak about this legislation as well because when I go to Pennsylvania and travel across our State, I get two basic messages from the people of our State. They are very clear. They say two things: First, work on job creation. Put your time into putting in place ways to create and incentivize the creation of jobs. The second message is work together and get things done. Work with people in both parties to move a strategy forward to create jobs.
I think this legislation does both. It is focused on creating jobs, especially as it relates to our small business owners and their workers and their communities, but it also is a way to bring Democrats and Republicans together to create jobs. The Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act will, indeed, help small businesses hire people by reducing the cost to small firms of bringing on a new worker or increasing their hours or pay. The economics of this are clear and compelling. By providing small businesses with new incentives to hire, we can create jobs and bolster economic recovery.
Small businesses are at the center of the economy of the United States and are vital to our recovery. I know in Pennsylvania there are nearly 250,000 small businesses. Four out of every five firms in the State are small businesses. This legislation is commonsense legislation and I hope will have strong bipartisan support when we vote on the bill itself.
It includes a business payroll tax incentive similar to legislation I introduced back in the year 2010 that will make it easier for small businesses to grow and to encourage economic growth throughout the country. It will give businesses a 10-percent income tax credit on new payroll for hiring new workers or increasing employee wages.
It is, in fact, targeted legislation. It is targeted to small business owners. It is because it is capped at $500,000 per firm or 10 percent of a payroll increase of $5 million.
In addition to being targeted, it is timely. It will be available immediately for any new hires or increased wages for the remainder of 2012.
Thirdly, it is very effective. The Congressional Budget Office, known around here by the acronym CBO, said a tax credit based on increased payroll would create the most jobs and have the greatest positive impact on America's gross domestic product when compared to other job creation policies that have been proposed. Under this legislation small businesses that hire a new worker would, on average, see more than $4,000 in tax savings per worker hired. That is a substantial help to a small firm, and people can just do the math as they hire more than one person. That is a smart step in the right direction to help these small businesses themselves as well as boost job creation throughout our country.
As the chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, our committee just produced a report recently--I know my colleagues can't see all the lettering on this report I am holding, but it is a very simple report that is just a couple of pages--outlining in very clear fashion the impact that small businesses have on our economy in terms of the predominance of small businesses when we consider businesses across the board. The name of the report is ``Tax Incentives for Small Business Hiring and Investment: Strengthening the Backbone of the Economy.'' In fact, that is the truth. The backbone of the American economy is our small business sector.
The report finds that enacting a tax credit for businesses that hire additional workers or increase the hours and wages of existing employees will help both sustain and accelerate the recovery. Across the Nation, 79 percent of business establishments are either single-establishment businesses with fewer than 100 employees or are parts of multi-establishment companies with total employment of under 100 employees.
Small businesses are responsible for more hiring in the U.S. economy than medium-sized or large businesses. As the labor market has begun to recover, small businesses have led the way again and again. If we look at the time period of February 2010 to February 2012, small establishments were responsible for 46 percent of the hires versus 34 percent for medium-sized businesses and 20 percent for large establishments.
This is a critical point: Small firms accounted for nearly half of the hiring from early 2010 to early 2012. Small businesses truly are the engines that power our economy.
The recent monthly unemployment reports, which show job growth at a slower pace than earlier in the year, underscore the need to provide new incentives to hire and invest in businesses. Many small firms want to hire more workers, and they also want to increase hours. This legislation will help them do that.
In addition to the payroll tax credit, the legislation will extend the 100 percent depreciation deduction for major purchases through the end of 2012 so that businesses that want to make a big investment--a new building, a new significant piece of equipment--can get the benefit of that this year. An extension of this business expensing would reduce the cost of investment and promote economic growth.
So, in summary, the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act would help create jobs and strengthen the economy and move our recovery forward. These are objectives we all share. I hope we can move forward in a bipartisan manner to pass this legislation because, in the end, it meets that two-part test my constituents give to me every day; that is, they want me to do everything I can to help create jobs, and they want me to do it in a bipartisan way. This legislation, in fact, does this.
I yield the floor.
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