With thousands of Rhode Islanders still unemployed and new job creation legislation being debated in the United States Senate, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) on Friday sat down in Pawtucket with local business owners to hear their ideas for growing the economy and putting people back to work. In a meeting coordinated by the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce and hosted by Doherty's Irish Restaurant and Pub, Whitehouse met with small business owners from Lincoln, Cumberland, North Smithfield, Johnston, and Pawtucket.
"I'm focused on creating jobs and getting our economy growing again, and I appreciate these small business owners sharing their ideas with me as the Senate considers jobs legislation," said Whitehouse. "We all know that small businesses have been hit particularly hard during this recession, and I'm working to help get them additional access to capital and a tax incentive for hiring workers and reducing unemployment."
Last week, Whitehouse voted to pass the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act. This jobs bill will bring $225 million to Rhode Island for highway projects, provide a payroll tax holiday for businesses to encourage hiring, increased cash flow for small businesses that can be used for investments and payroll expansion, and an expansion of the Build America Bonds program to subsidize and encourage local infrastructure projects.
The Senate is now debating another jobs bill, the American Workers Act, which will extend a Small Business Administration loan program established in last year's recovery act, a series of tax incentives to help businesses resume hiring, and Unemployment Insurance and COBRA subsidies until the end of this year.