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Begich Supports Jobs Bill in Senate

Effort supports small business, employment, infrastructure

Feb. 22, 20210 - U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today supported the jobs bill moving through the U.S. Senate, designed to help small businesses expand and hire workers, and jump start infrastructure projects, including those in Alaska.  The Senate voted 62-30 to move forward with discussion of The Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act.

"This bill is a great down payment on job creation, allowing businesses to immediately take advantage of tax breaks for hiring unemployed workers and for small businesses to purchase new equipment, as well as infrastructure support in our state," Begich said. "Alaskans are suffering from record high unemployment and this jobs bill will directly help Alaska small businesses and individual workers with new job opportunities."

The $15 billion HIRE Act is significantly smaller than legislation proposed earlier this month. It features four key provisions including:

·         Create a tax incentive to spur businesses to hire unemployed workers by exempting businesses from Social Security payroll taxes through December for every worker hired in 2010 who has been unemployed for 60 days. It includes an additional $1,000 tax credit if new workers stay on the job for one full year;

·         Help small businesses expand operations by allowing a write-off of up to $250,000 in one year for certain new equipment purchases rather than waiting several years to recover costs through depreciation deductions;

·         Extend transportation programs to rebuild infrastructure - extending SAFETEA-LU legislation to the end of 2010 to provide transportation funding to states, including an additional $54 million for transportation projects in Alaska that could be used this construction season;

·         Expand the Build America Bonds Program to allow state and local governments to finance more infrastructure projects through a lower interest rate. Under the Economic Recovery Act, approximately $69 billion in these bonds were issued in 2009, including for projects in Anchorage and the North Star Borough.

"I'm pleased my colleagues in the Senate recognize the importance of job creation and a continual focus on what we can do to help small businesses and put Alaskans and other Americans back to work," Begich added.

The Senate will now debate the full bill and a final vote is expected later this week.

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