Legislation will create jobs by helping small businesses get off the ground
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has introduced legislation to help unemployed Pennsylvanians start their own small businesses. Giving those who have lost their jobs an opportunity to use their skills to build their own small business could be an exponential job creator, generating work not just for one unemployed Pennsylvanian but creating jobs for others as well.
“Making sure the job creators of tomorrow have the ability to get on their feet today will create jobs and speed up the economic recovery,” said Senator Casey. “This bill makes the path to self-reliance and prosperity easier for prospective entrepreneurs and will create jobs for Pennsylvanians.”
As the nation’s unemployment rate continues to hover around 9 percent, many unemployed Americans could be taking advantage of the opportunity to start their own small businesses if not for rules governing unemployment insurance (UI). Senator Casey introduced the Startup Technical Assistance for Reemployment Training and Unemployment Prevention (STARTUP) Act to promote self-employment assistance as an alternative approach.
Under current rules, in order to maintain unemployment benefits, the unemployed must be actively searching for and willing to accept suitable work. Anyone who has started a new business knows that getting it off the ground is a full time job in and of itself and allowing would-be UI recipients to focus full-time on their new business vastly increases their likelihood of success.
A handful of states currently allow a small percentage of their unemployed to focus full time on starting their own business while drawing down their unemployment benefits in the form of self-employment assistance.
The bill would expand eligibility for self-employment assistance to states where it is not currently an option, dramatically increasing the number of potential new small businesses. Small businesses employ over 2 million workers in Pennsylvania.
The STARTUP Act encourages states to utilize self-employment assistance by:
• Allowing the long-term unemployed who remain eligible for regular or extended unemployment benefits to draw down those benefits in the form of self-employment assistance;
• Providing technical assistance and model language from the Department of Labor for states that create new self-employment programs; and
• Providing financial assistance to aid states in establishing, implementing, improving and/or administering self-employment programs.
Senator Casey introduced the STARTUP Act with Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Tom Carper (D-DE).
A companion bill in the House is expected to be introduced this week.