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Steve Sweeney Pushes Plan To Help Small Businesses And Unemployed [AUDIO]

State Senate President Steve Sweeney is introducing a bill that would give small businesses a big tax credit for hiring someone who’s been unemployed for at least a month – in many cases, up to 3 thousand dollars a year.

Governor Christie and Senate President Sweeney
Governor's Office/Tim Larsen

He says, “For every person you hire off the unemployment rolls- and you maintain for a year – you get all the taxes you would pay on that employee back…the federal taxes, the state taxes, workers comp…The focus is getting people off of unemployment, since people on unemployment are actually eating up a lot of government dollars and services because they need them – to sustain their families, so this a way to try and reverse that.”

He says, “Our unemployment rate is 9.8 percent and it’s unacceptable.  I think it’s going to wind up higher because summer employment is ending and when summer employment ends there tends to be an uptick in unemployment…We want to make sure we have an opportunity to find a way to reduce the unemployment rates in this state – they’re the highest they’ve been in 35 years…This targets the unemployed and helps the small businesses, who we know will put the money right back into the business, which is more important than anything – with some of these large corporation they’d just put it in the profit column.  Here’s an opportunity where they can actually take these dollars, and put it back in, reinvest it in the company and try to help em grow.”

Sweeney adds, “The Governor can give all the stories he wants about the New Jersey Comeback, but when you’re walking into a union hall and you see half of your members unemployed, they’re out of benefits, they’re out of unemployment, they’re out of health benefits, we have to do something to try to at least put some people back.”

When asked how much his legislation will cost, Sweeney said he’s not sure .

“It could almost wind up as a wash because when you think about people collecting unemployment, being on social programs because they don’t have a livelihood again – putting someone back to work is almost even like a balance …putting people back to work …it’s a multiplying factor.  Every unemployed person you put back to work – they can spend because now they’re making a living …It’s reversing the spiral we’ve been in for several years now – we’ve been spiraling downward- and unfortunately the unemployment rate is 9.8 percent – when the Governor took office it was lower than that.”

“Just saying the Jersey Comeback has begun – and all that nonsense – doesn’t help anybody who’s been out of work.  People look in the mirror- are they missing something? This is focused exactly where it needs to be focused- small businesses and the unemployed.”

So has Sweeney talked to the Governor about this?

He says, “I’m going to have a conversation with him – last time around there was 30 bills we gave him to try to help to reverse the problems the state was having with this economy and the Governor vetoed most of the bills.  In fact, he vetoed 2 bills and then signed them, after we reintroduced them because he didn’t want it to be our bills …I’m going to sit down with the Governor …Catchy speeches and phrases are all nice, but it doesn’t help someone who’s been out of work for over a year.”

Sweeney adds, “Being unemployed is not something you want to be…it’s a horrible feeling, you feel horrible as a person because you want to provide for your family …If someone is collecting unemployment, it’s a painful experience…We’re going to be bringing more bills, more ideas because the middle class is struggling in this state and the Governor hasn’t really put forth anything that’s turning this economy around…You can give all the speeches you want, but show me where unemployment is down – show me where things are better here – they’re not….every person you put back to work is a victory – every single one – the economy is very bad in New Jersey and anytime we can do anything to help small businesses, we want to – and this is a way of doing it.”

Sweeney says he’s aiming to pass the legislation by the end of the year.

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