Merkley announces legislation to aid small businesses

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, rolled out new legislation Tuesday targeted at business start-ups.

Speaking to approximately 50 business people at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Lake Oswego, Merkley announced the Small Business Jump Start Act of 2009 to members of the Lake Oswego and West Linn chambers of commerce.

The legislation, which Merkley plans to introduce in the United States Senate next week, proposes to boost the federal tax deduction for small business start-up costs and broaden the pool of businesses eligible for the deduction.

Start-up businesses are currently eligible for a $5,000 tax deduction if they spend $50,000 or less to open their doors. The legislation proposed by Merkley and co-sponsored by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., would boost the deduction to $10,000 and also expand eligibility to companies that spend up to $60,000 on start-up costs.

The deduction would be phased out dollar-for-dollar for expenditures above $60,000. A business that spends $61,000 in start-up costs, for example, could deduct $9,000 under the proposed legislation and take the remaining $1,000 deduction over 15 years, just as in current law.

“I feel that small businesses are really at the heart of our economy,” said Merkley. “This act will encourage small businesses to open their doors and stimulate the economy now rather than waiting for the economy to recover.”