Rep. Betty Boukus and Sen. Jason Welch stand up for small businesses [Foothills Trader]

January 25, 2013

Article as it appeared in the Foothills Trader

HARTFORD — State Rep. Betty Boukus (D-Plainville) and State Sen. Jason Welch (R-Bristol) are standing up for small businesses in the 31st Senate district and 22nd House district, spearheading an effort to reach out and let small business owners know the state is here to help.

“We have made a commitment to help small businesses thrive,” said Boukus. “Many business owners may not be aware of the state assistance that is available. Hopefully we can raise awareness about these important tools.”

Welch said it’s important for business owners in Connecticut to know programs are already in place that will help them.

“All they have to do is take advantage of the assistance,” Welch said.

The Department of Economic and Community Development’s Office of Small Business Affairs developed a whole host of programs to provide various assistance options to small businesses in Connecticut.

The focus of the office of Small Business Affairs is to provide the following.

• Provide a single contact point for small businesses seeking financial and technical assistance from state and quasi-public agencies.

• Coordinate all state small business revolving loan funds.

• Coordinate efforts involving multiple state and federal departments and agencies.

• Provide technical assistance through DECD and its partners.

Two of the more popular programs small business owners have found helpful are:

• Economic and Manufacturing Assistance Act (MAA) — provides low-interest loans and incentive-driven direct loans for projects when there is a strong economic development potential. Funding may be used for purchase of equipment, furniture and fixtures, construction, leasehold improvements, training and other eligible project-related activities.

• Small Business Express Program — provides loans and grants to Connecticut’s small business to spur job creation and growth.

In addition to small business financial assistance there are more than half a dozen tax incentives such as the Urban and Industrial Site Reinvestment Tax Credit (Dollar-for-dollar corporate tax credit of up to 100 precent for an investment up to a maximum of $100 million in an urban area or an industrial project; minimum investment is $5 million in distressed communities and $50 million in all other communities.) and the popular Film Production & Digital Media Tax Credit

(A tax credit equal to 30 percent of qualified digital media and motion picture production, pre-production and post-production expenses in the state that exceed $50,000.)

Others include:

• Job Expansion Tax Credit.

• Research and Development Tax Credits.

• Fixed Capital Tax Credit.

• Financial Services Tax Credit.

• Angel Investor Tax Credit.

• Machinery and Equipment Tax Credit.

Welch, ranking member on the Veterans Affairs Committee, asks businesses who hire a new full-time employee to remember there is a special Job Expansion Tax Credit that benefits a company if they hire a veteran for the job.

“Connecticut businesses are eligible for tax credits of $900 per month for each new full-time job created if the new employee is a veteran employee who was honorably discharged from or released under honorable conditions from active service in the armed forces,” said Welch.

Another highly sought-after tax credit is focused on machinery and equipment. Business can get a 10-percent tax credit if they invest in machinery and equipment. The business has to employ 250 or fewer full-time permanent employees in Connecticut.

“Manufacturers can invest in new machinery and equipment and receive a significant tax credit,” Boukus said. “A strong manufacturing sector equals a strong Connecticut economy.”

Both legislators agree these types of incentives are there to make sure small businesses can operate in Connecticut and to ensure local people have good paying jobs that will strengthen their quality of life and retain important jobs in our state.

Any business may contact the department to inquire for help. In most cases owners will be asked for a Needs Assessment to be completed before speaking with staff. Office of Small Business Affairs can be reached at 860-270-8215; Website- click on Business Development.