BALTIMORE -- U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) today discussed the new health care reform law with the Maryland-Washington Minority Contractors Association, explaining how it will lower health care costs and make health insurance much more available for America’s small business owners.
“Beginning this year, small businesses will get a tax credit to help them pay for health insurance for their employees,” said Senator Cardin. “This tax credit will be available to more than 122,000 Maryland businesses, making quality health care affordable.”
The Senator outlined provisions in the new law that will specifically help small businesses. Those provisions include:
· A sliding-scale tax credit to small employers with fewer than 25 employees and average annual wages of less than $50,000;
· A full credit will be available to employers with 10 employees or less and with average annual wages of less than $25,000;
· From 2010 to 2013, eligible companies will receive tax credits of up to 35 percent of their contribution toward the employee’s health insurance premium; and,
· Creation of a health insurance exchange that will allow small businesses to leverage their collective buying power for lower rates comparable to larger businesses.
· In 2014 and later, eligible companies who purchase health insurance coverage through the exchange can receive a tax credit for two years of up to 50 percent of their contribution.
Senator Cardin also talked about the recently enacted Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, which includes a payroll tax holiday for businesses to encourage hiring of unemployed workers and enhanced write-offs to help small businesses expand. Senator Cardin also discussed upcoming legislation that Congress will be considering to provide small businesses greater access to capital and other tools to promote growth. The Senator recently proposed legislation that would provide direct loans to small businesses using $30 billion of TARP funds.