(Washington) – Today, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) delivered a speech on the floor of the Senate, urging Congress to pass the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act (S. 2237). This legislation provides a tax credit to small businesses that increase their payroll by hiring new workers or increasing existing wages, and extends 100 percent bonus depreciation for an additional year. The Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act is expected to provide financial relief to approximately two million small businesses across the country, and would help 13,000 unemployed people in Connecticut find a job.
Below is a full transcript of his floor speech:
Thank you, Mr. President. I am reminded today of the old saying that we campaign in poetry but we govern in prose. We are in the midst of a campaign season when we hear a lot of rhetoric, perhaps posing as poetry, but we have an obligation to govern, and I rise today in support of S. 2237 which is most certainly simple, straightforward prose in dedication to the art of government. It is the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act. It is about as simple and straightforward as possibly it could be.
It has two compelling, concise concepts. First is a tax credit of 10 percent on new payroll. It can be either new hiring or increased wages in 2012 as compared to 2011, and it is capped at $500,000, pretty simple, straightforward prose in aid of jobs – in aid of employment. It also extends for one year the 100 percent bonus depreciation allowance to stimulate economic investment. Again, to create jobs. Very simple and straightforward extension of the accelerated depreciation that boosts gross domestic products and will benefit two million businesses, it's estimated, two million businesses, most of them small businesses, across the United States.
In fact, this measure is targeted, very specifically targeted and aimed at small businesses creating jobs. They are the backbone of our economy, the source of the majority of new jobs. It economizes very prudently and practically the aid that is designed to boost new jobs as well as overall output in our economy. And it's supported by a broad consensus of economists ranging from Alan Blinder, who has endorsed this idea as a job creator, saying that – quote – "the basic idea is to offer firms that boost their payrolls a tax break. As one concrete example, companies might be offered a tax credit equal to 10 percent of the increase in their wage bills. No increase, no reward. That's the concept."
That is the concept. No increase, no reward. But the reward and the incentive are a powerful potential driving force to aid small businesses in increasing the numbers of jobs they provide.
I want to thank Leader Harry Reid for this very targeted and profoundly meaningful proposal. But when I think about the impact of this legislation, I don't think of the folks who are gathered in this chamber. I think of people in Connecticut, 13,000 people in Connecticut, who will have jobs if we move forward on this bill. I think of a man named – Hector Hernandez. I met Hector at a jobs fair that I hosted in East Hartford this past September. After 25 years of working for the same company, as they say, working hard and playing by the rules, Hector lost his job. And he's willing to do most anything to find a new job but he can't find one. There are simply no jobs for Hector and this measure will help to provide him one.
At that same jobs fair, I met Ty Wagner. Ty took a very smart path. He decided he was going to get all the education that could possibly be accessible to him. He got a technical degree from a top university. He wanted to work in the state when he graduated. His dream job really was to give back, to provide public service. He hasn't been able to find any job, let alone his dream job, and he is every bit as lost as Hector Hernandez.
And that situation faced by Hector and Ty is only one aspect of the crisis in America's job market. I think of Jodie Lazarus who moved to Stamford five years ago in search of economic opportunity. She put her two kids in local schools, signed up for college classes, started to get her finances in order and today she makes barely enough to feed her family and she receives no benefits. She's been looking for a job that will pay her more and give her more security, but in this economy, her efforts have come to nothing. And every week she hopes and prays that this week's income will be enough to provide food this week for her family.
People like Jodie and Hector and Ty deserve better. As I travel across Connecticut, I hear often that there are jobs and employers can't find people with the skills to fill them, and we need to provide those skills to develop our workforce to make sure that education and training are available so that people have skills to fill the jobs that exist. But Washington can do more for them in this kind of targeted, practical approach. Not Republican or Democrat, not conservative or progressive, it simply provides the tools that small businesses need, a 10 percent payroll tax cut, accelerated depreciation, simple, straightforward, prose – not poetry – prose that will put people back to work in Connecticut and around the country.
I urge that my colleagues come together, as the American people want us to do, desperately are seeking for us to do, and to govern in prose that makes a practical difference in their lives. A tool for small business so that, not as a panacea, but as a practical aid, small businesses can put people back to work across the state of Connecticut and across the country.