Casey to introduce job-creation bill

U.S. senator from Scranton aims to help small businesses to hire workers, boost wages.

By:  Bill O'Boyle

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey unveiled on Wednesday his first bill of the new Congress – the Small Business Job Creation Act of 2013 – which would give a tax break to businesses that hire new workers and increase wages.

Based on current average weekly earnings of private-sector employees, a business would receive a tax break of approximately $4,250 over the course of the year for hiring an additional employee.

“My top priority continues to be job creation,” Casey, D-Scranton, said during a teleconference. “This measure is a common-sense step to incentivize small businesses to hire.”

Republicans and Democrats should be supportive of helping small businesses expand, protecting the middle class and fueling the economy, he said.

“I intend to cross the aisle and make the case for passage of this bill,” said Casey. “This is just our first full week back in session. But I intend to work with people on both sides to get this idea enacted.”

He will remain open to suggestions that could make his proposed legislation better, he said.

Many Americans have been watching and bemoaning the slow pace of job growth. Although he has seen some “good numbers” over the last several months, he said, Congress needs to do more to create conditions to accelerate job growth.

While Congress begins its debate to reduce spending and raise the debt ceiling, its members can’t lose sight of what he calls its top priority – job creation, Casey said. “There hasn’t been nearly enough discussion on strategies to create jobs,” he said.

Casey hopes his bill will spur job creation by giving small-business owners some flexibility to increase their workforces. “Nothing is more important right now than job creation and the many economical benefits that will flow from that,” he said.

Details of the act

• Will provide a tax credit of 10 percent of the excess year-over-year payroll increases.

• Credit is calculated by quarter and is a payroll tax (FICA) credit.

• Geared to help small businesses, the proposed credit is capped at $500,000 per firm.

For companies with 100 or more employees to qualify, the increase in payroll must exceed 3 percent of qualified payroll for the quarter in the preceding year.