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How a Startup Tax Credit Can Spur Re-Employment

As federal and state governments outline plans for reopening the economy, lawmakers will have to grapple with the challenge of getting tens of millions of Americans back to work as quickly as possible.

More than 47 million Americans have filed for unemployment since the pandemic began, with the unemployment rate at 13.3 percent in May.

The economic damage has been inflicted on both the employer and worker sides of the labor market. A mass of businesses have filed for bankruptcy as a result of the lockdown, with the American Bankruptcy Institute finding a 48 percent increase in commercial Chapter 11 filings in May compared to last year.

And many laid off workers will not be able to return to their former jobs. As many as 25 percent of jobs may never come back, Joseph Brusuelas, chief economist at consulting firm RSM, recently told Politico.

Part of the problem is that even businesses that survive the downturn are going to be wary about expanding to fill the market gaps left by their defunct peers. Small businesses, which are naturally less risk-tolerant than their large counterparts and have access to fewer resources, will be especially cautious about growth.

That’s why simply “reopening the economy” won’t put everyone back to work. We also need a strategy for incentivizing existing small businesses to swiftly scale up and make room for rehiring the unemployed.

U.S. policymakers need new tools for revitalizing entrepreneurship and leveraging its potent job-creating abilities. To that end, the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) has proposed a new Startup Tax Credit that incentivizes entrepreneurs to quickly increase employment at their small companies, giving even existing companies a startup-like boost.

Modeled on the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Startup Tax Credit would be a refundable tax credit tied to the number of employees and payroll at a small business.

Read more here.

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