4:15 p.m. update: The U.S. Senate today failed to pass the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act of 2012. The vote was 53-44 in favor of the bill, but 60 votes are needed.
Casey released this statement:
"A minority of senators today blocked a tax cut to help tens of thousands of small businesses create jobs in Pennsylvania and around the country. In Pennsylvania alone, there are nearly 250,000 small businesses – four out of every five firms in the state.
"This bill would have provided an incentive for these small businesses to hire by reducing the cost of bringing on a new worker. The bill is similar to legislation that I introduced in 2010 and is one common-sense way to fuel the economy.
"I am disappointed in today’s vote but I am hopeful that moving forward Democrats and Republicans will come together in an effort to boost the economy and create jobs.”
A Democratic-backed proposal to provide tax credits for small businesses that hire workers or increase wages has a good chance of clearing the U.S. Senate.
The bill, known as the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act, passed 80 to 14 in a Senate test vote Tuesday. The threshold to advance a bill for debate is 60 votes in the Senate.
It would provide a 10 percent tax credit of as much as $500,000 to companies with annual payrolls of up to $5 million. Companies also would be allowed to write off 100 percent of new property and equipment purchases this year, instead of only half the amount in a single year.
Based on current average weekly earnings of private sector employees, a business would receive a tax break of about $4,200 over the course of the year for hiring an additional worker paid the average amount, according to a report from the chairman of the Joint Economic Committee.
In May, the Business Journal reported that the average tax savings per worker for Central Pennsylvania businesses would range between $3,432 and about $4,623.
There are more than 247,000 small businesses in Pennsylvania, according to data provided by Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Bob Casey's office. Casey is one of the bill's co-sponsors.
A small business is defined as one with 500 or fewer employees.