Jobs bill would extend assistance for small business startups

Open Sign

Obama’s jobs bill contains a few provisions that will help kick-start the opening of new businesses. Image: Flickr / loop_oh / CC-BY-ND

Obama’s Jobs bill is a $447-billion combination of tax cuts and economic reform. One provision of the bill could be greatly helpful for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Extending the Self-Employment Assistance Program

The Self-Employment Assistance Program is an unemployment program currently in use in a few different states. The program provides two things: training and money. Unemployed individuals are offered small-business training, including market research and business plan writing. The biggest factor, however, is money. SEAP recipients receive additional money from their unemployment funds to start businesses. The money comes from the individuals’ unemployment funds; the program only changes the way the money is distributed. The jobs bill would enact similar programs in all 50 states

How small businesses help the economy

Small businesses account for a huge number of the jobs created, especially in bad economies. In Oregon, which runs a comprehensive SEAP program, successful entrepreneurs create an average of 2.63 additional jobs. According to the White House:

SEA participants were 19 times more likely than eligible non-participants to be self-employed at some point after being unemployed and four times more likely to obtain employment of any kind.

Additional benefits for existing business

Existing businesses will also benefit if President Obama’s jobs bill passes Congress. The employer payroll tax would be halved for up to $5 million in wages paid to individuals. The bill also proposes a complete payroll tax holiday for all 2011 taxes, and tax credits for hiring individuals who have been unemployed for six months or more. All business purchases of property would also be included in an immediate deduction, rather than a long-term deduction. In short, small businesses would receive credits more quickly and be responsible for lower taxes.

Finding business funding

SEA Program funding is intended to address the challenge of finding the funds to start up a business. For many unemployed individuals, finding the money to start a business can feel impossible. Good credit history and startup capital, the two things usually needed to start a business, are often not availble to young entrepreneurs or the unemployed. SEA funding helps provide an extra boost for some. If you think you may qualify for SEAP and live in a state currently with the program, contact your unemployment representative to discuss options.

Time Moneyland
LA Times
Washington Employment Security Department

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