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Salazar Introduces Business Tax Relief Act In US Senate

by Leroy Baker,, New York

18 January 2007

United States Senator Ken Salazar (D - Col.) has introduced legislation designed to balance the needs of small business with an expected increase in the minimum wage.

Speaking on his Business Relief and Incentives for Small Entrepreneurs Act of 2007, or The Business RAISE Act, Salazar noted that: “We must ensure that in our enthusiasm to increase the minimum wage we do not unnecessarily harm small businesses."

“An increase in the minimum wage is long overdue, but small businesses are the engine of our economy. These tax incentives strike a balance between the need to protect small business while we help working families," he added.

The Business Raise Act contains two sections. The first would allow business owners to write off the cost of two specific kinds of construction over a period of 15 years: firstly, improvements to retail property that they own (rather than lease); and secondly the cost of restaurant construction/renovation. Currently, these improvements must be written off over a period of 39 years. Salazar said the reduced timetable is more realistic and will stimulate investment, particularly benefiting small business construction and renovation.

The second section would provide tax incentives for businesses to hire disabled veterans, and is identical to Senator Salazar’s 'Warm Welcome Home Act' from the 109th Congress. Specifically, it would expand the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) to include all disabled veterans. Under current law, WOTC applies only to disabled veterans who are on food stamps and who have completed rehabilitation in a state or federal veterans’ affairs agency.

“I support an increase in the federal minimum wage; American workers deserve better,” continued Salazar.

“But we must also provide small businesses with tax relief in order to cushion the blow from a minimum wage increase. These businesses are the lifeblood of Colorado’s and our nation's economy, and we must ensure they can continue to serve this vital purpose," he added.

A version of both of Senator Salazar’s provisions was included in the Finance Committee package that was scheduled for mark up Wednesday.

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