March 29, 2010

(Portsmouth, NH)-U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen today held a press conference to highlight the health care tax credits included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that go into immediate effect and benefit News Hampshire's smallest businesses.  Shaheen was joined by three owners of Portsmouth businesses: Jay McSharry, owner of Jumpin' Jay's Fish Café, John Bailey, owner of Bailey Works, and Dennis Lunn, owner of The Works Bakery.

"Now that we've passed health care reform legislation, we must make sure that New Hampshire small businesses are aware of the tax credits that are available to them to help make health insurance more affordable," said Shaheen. "These tax credits offer relief for companies that do offer insurance, and offer a great incentive for those that do not."

Bailey Works Owner John Bailey said, "Long term employees are essential to our business.  The work is skilled if not highly paid. It takes a long time for people to learn all of our system.  We find the right people and hang on to them. Being able to offer health care to our stitchers would make their lives more secure and happier.  Pre-reform we haven't been able to touch giving benefits because we are all older and a very small group.  We are very hopeful that with reform and as the economy improves we will be able to make health insurance available."

Health care reform will start to ease the financial pressure on the smallest of American businesses this year, and it will help make it easier for those small businesses to offer insurance to their employees. Businesses with fewer than 25 workers and average annual wages of $50,000 or less are eligible for a tax credit of up to 35 percent to help pay for their employees insurance premiums. 

In 2014, these small businesses can take full advantage of the new insurance marketplaces, or insurance exchanges, that are being created. At that point, the tax credit increases and small business can receive a 50 percent tax credit for any two years in the exchange to help cover the cost of insurance for their employees.

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