Swalwell introduces 'Main Street Revival' bill

Legislation would let some small businesses defer payroll tax payment for first year

Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) joined a Republican colleague last week in introducing a bill to allow certain small businesses to defer paying payroll taxes during their first year in operation.

"When small businesses can get off the ground, the whole community wins," Swalwell, whose district includes Pleasanton, said in a statement. "The Main Street Revival Act would relieve small businesses of a significant expense during their crucial first year, giving them more capital to grow and succeed."

The tax deferrals under the Main Street Revival Act -- House Resolution 2409 -- would be available to new businesses expected to hire 25 or fewer employees in their first year and located within historically underutilized business zones, dubbed HUBZones. Businesses that opt in to the program would pay the deferred taxes in installments over the subsequent four years.

Alameda County has 100 areas deemed HUBZones, but none in Pleasanton, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the federal agency overseeing the program. The county HUBZones are mainly in Oakland but other locations include Berkeley and Hayward.

Pleasanton Downtown Association (PDA) officials are currently reviewing the bill and have not yet taken a stance on it, according to executive director Laura Olson.

"The California Main Street Alliance (CAMSA), of which I am vice president of the board, will be reviewing this and other proposed legislation at our June board of directors meeting. The PDA will wait to see CAMSA's recommendation before announcing our position," Olson said.

Swalwell noted that he also introduced the Main Street Revival Act last congressional term -- the first piece of legislation he introduced in Congress. That bill was referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means in March 2013 without further action.

The local congressman reintroduced the bill last week with Congressman Chris Collins (R-N.Y.).

"If Washington is serious about getting our economy back on track, Congress needs to get serious about supporting American small businesses," Collins said in a statement. "This legislation represents the practical, commonsense solutions Washington needs to take to nurture small business development, create jobs and spur tangible economic development in our communities."

The bipartisan bill was referred to the Ways and Means Committee on May 19.

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4 people like this
Posted by Ron
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 27, 2015 at 9:28 am

Whatever happened to pay as you go? If you can not afford payroll tax you should not be in business. This is not a good proposal.

4 people like this
Posted by Businesswoman
a resident of Dublin
on May 27, 2015 at 9:56 am

How about deferred income tax? or no income tax. Payroll taxes are paid by both the employer and the employee. I agree with Ron, if you can't pay those expenses as you go, you should not be in business.

3 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Ruby Hill
on May 27, 2015 at 10:11 am

I think it's important for ideas like this to get some serious consideration for a number of reasons (creating employment, local economic revitalization, etc.) What I do find incredibly ironic is one of the primary causes, if not THE primary cause, of the decimation and hollowing out of Main Street USA is Wal-Mart -one of the worst retailers and employers in the country. Possibly the Walton family with their billions could create a meaningful seed fund for small businesses to tap.

4 people like this
Posted by Anti-union
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 27, 2015 at 10:42 am

No doubt, the 3 comments above were by union members, setting up for their never-ending 'wal-mart' attacks...which is irrelevant to 'startup' situations.

3 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Ruby Hill
on May 27, 2015 at 1:25 pm

No, not anti-union, in fact I'm quite the liberal. But, having working in the retail industry most of my career, and having dealt with Wal-Mart from a manufacturing standpoint, their approach to their employees, particularly store employees, leaves a lot to be desired.

3 people like this
Posted by stupid idea
a resident of Downtown
on May 27, 2015 at 1:26 pm

The income tax was originally paid at year end, not during the year through withholding. That was not working at all as people never had the brains or restraint to set aside a portion of their income to pay the tax. We are now subject, as employees, to withholding tax. Self-employed people are supposed to pay estimated taxes throughout the year to avoid large balances due when filing. They rarely do this. Again, no brains or self-control to set aside the money. The largest single group of delinquent taxpayers in this country are those who are self-employed and responsible for payment of all of their own employment and income tax.

Swalwell is pandering to the idiots who cannot afford what they desire and he will only set them up to fail. Did he learn nothing from the great housing debacle? People who could not afford homes were conned into it by slimy realtors and greedy mortgage lenders and look what happened.

Pay as you go or don't get yourself into the position of owing in the first place.

3 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on May 27, 2015 at 2:50 pm

And I had high hopes for swalwell. He just blew my hopes out of the water, what a stupid idea. I see these small businesses opening for 364 days then slamming the door shut on the last day, filing bankruptcy, then reopening under a different name 3 days later to start the cycle all over again.

Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Stoneridge
on May 29, 2015 at 11:47 am

Just so we're all on the same page, "payroll taxes" = FICA = social security.

So at a time when Social Security is headed toward insolvency, Eric Swalwell thinks it's a great idea to allow people working for a small business to defer their Social Security premiums.

(Of course I know that he says he is allowing businesses to defer it, but everything paid for the employee's sake is really being paid by an employee.)

Why not give small business a break on income taxes instead?

Does Eric want Social Security to go bankrupt? What's the end game here? Why does Eric hate Social Security? Does he want it to die on the vine?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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