Businesses missing out on job stimulus tax breaks

December 3, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
A White House summit on jobs opened Thursday with a sliver of new hope for the economy. The number of people filing for first-time jobless benefits has fallen to $457,000. That's a big number, but it's fallen for five weeks in a row now, to the lowest figure in 14 months.

The point of the summit is to get businesses to start hiring again. There's a lot of anger over the bail out of Wall Street financial firms and the big auto makers.

The Republican Party is honing its attacks on the president and the Democratic majority over the jobless issue.

The question the president put to business and labor leaders, economists and finance experts is: how do you get businesses to start hiring again?

"How do we get ourselves to the point where more people are working and more people are spending?" asked President Obama.

The president said the government must take action to help small businesses that provide 2/3rds of the nation's jobs.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told reporters jobs and domestic programs are the priority.

"Meeting the needs of America's families and seeing the progress that they make is what is important to us and to the president and we'll measure our success in that way," said Pelosi.

Outside of Pelosi's San Francisco office were demonstrators condemning government bailouts for financial institutions and demanding government support for jobs.

"There are a lot of people that are unemployed or underemployed and we need money to put them into jobs right now," said Jennifer Ewart, a student.

At a San Francisco job fair, scores of people came looking for work. However, aside from joining the Navy or the police force, the only job with a regular salary being offered was one managing a residential hotel South of Market.

"I wish I could say it was the Fairmont or something like that," said hotel owner Frank Myers.

Myers still had a line of applicants and there could be a lot more jobs with salaries if San Francisco businesses knew about a stimulus-funded program called Jobs Now.

"And to most people that's got to be a surprise, almost a too good to be true moment," said David Chai with the mayor's jobs program.

Chai runs the mayor's job program and says stimulus dollars are available for San Francisco business to hire workers and then have those workers' salaries subsidized 100 percent for the next 10 months.

"Some of the qualifications are you have to be a San Francisco resident, you have to have a dependent under the age of 18," said Chai.

Still the mayor's office believes thousands of San Franciscans could take advantage of the program, but aren't and more than half of the businesses in the city's economic development zone are eligible for tax breaks that aren't being used.

The director of San Francisco's small business commission, Regina Dick-Endrizzi, says if you've got more than one employee, the money is significant.

"Definitely in the tens of thousands could possibly be the size of the business, hundreds of thousands," said Endruzzi.

Next week there will be a couple of workshops at City Hall to inform businesses about the tax breaks available. The other will focus on the Jobs Now program that subsidized the salaries for San Francisco residents.

Jobs Now Workshop Information:
Thursday, December 10, 2009, 1:00 p.m.
City Hall, Room 305
1 Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102

Thursday, December 10, 2009, 5:30 p.m.
City Hall, Room 305
1 Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102


Load Comments