Now is the time for small businesses to create jobs and grow in Missouri, Gov. Jay Nixon said today during a visit to the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce.
During his visit, Gov. Nixon signed House Bill 1661, which provides a targeted tax deduction for Missouri small businesses that create jobs over the next two years.
"My message to Missouri businesses is clear: Now is the time, and Missouri is the place, for you to create jobs and grow," Gov. Nixon said. "Missouri is a national leader in supporting and nurturing start-up businesses, and this targeted tax deduction is another valuable tool to help your businesses reach new heights. By helping our small businesses create new jobs and grow, we will keep Missouri's economy moving forward."
House Bill 1661 provides small businesses a tax deduction of $10,000 for each new qualifying job they create, provided the job pays at least the county average wage or the state average wage (whichever is lower). If the job also offers health insurance, and the employer pays at least 50 percent of the premium, the business can receive a $20,000 tax deduction.
To be eligible, the small business must have 50 employees or fewer, and the new jobs created must employ the workers for at least 52 weeks. Businesses are eligible to claim the deduction during tax years 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Recent national rankings have confirmed that Missouri is leading the country in supporting and growing small businesses. Earlier this month, CNN-Money rated Missouri as the nation's sixth-best state for new business start-ups in its "10 Most Entrepreneurial States for 2011." Missouri was the only Midwestern state in the CNN-Money's Top 10. In addition, Missouri's unemployment rate is currently at a 41-month low, while state exports are up 15.4 percent to date over 2011, a year when the state of Missouri set a record with $14.1 billion in export sales revenue.
"These ongoing trends clearly show that Missouri's economy is moving in the right direction, and small businesses are driving that growth," Gov. Nixon said. "The time is right for small businesses to invest, grow and create jobs here in Missouri. This targeted tax deduction is another important tool we're providing to help small businesses do just that."
During his visit, Gov. Nixon also highlighted other steps his administration has taken to jumpstart small businesses, including establishing Missouri's Small Business Loan Program. Since the Governor established the program in 2009, the state has awarded more than $1.57 million in loans to 58 businesses across Missouri.
The program, which offers loans of up to $50,000 at three percent interest for 10 years, is open to businesses of 15 employees or fewer, which can apply for loans up to $50,000. Loans are available to help businesses purchase equipment, hire new workers, stock inventories or any other expenses.
"We are committed to helping small businesses access working capital to expand their operations and prosper on their own," Gov. Nixon said. "Through our continued effort to support and grow small businesses in Missouri, we are creating jobs and keeping our unemployment well below the national average."
Since 2009, Gov. Nixon's administration has launched a number of other initiatives to help small businesses thrive, including:
- Beginning to phase out the franchise tax on all Missouri businesses;
- Calling a special session in July 2010 to pass the landmark Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act
- Increasing funding for job training by 52 percent in 2011 and maintaining that increase in 2012;
- Investing millions into programs such as Training for Tomorrow, Innovation Campuses, MoHealthWINS, and Caring for Missourians, to educate students at Missouri community colleges and four-year institutions for high-demand careers.