CAMEO Digs Out Self-Employment Gem in Payroll Tax Bill That Will Spur Small Business Growth

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The unemployment benefits extension and payroll tax cut bill includes a great opportunity to help the self-employed start their own small businesses. CAMEO urges California to take advantage of this federal program.

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If the unemployed can’t find a job, they can create their own. We need to unleash the hidden potential of our entrepreneurs.

President Obama signed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 last week, which saved millions of unemployed who would have lost their benefits starting this weekend. Another gem tucked in the payroll tax – unemployment extension bill will help the unemployed become their own boss and start their own small business.

In the bill is a $35 million self-employment assistance program, which the House (Doggett) and Senate (Wyden) had passed versions of last year.

Under the program, unemployed workers will be able to maintain their unemployment insurance benefits while they start their own small businesses – a full-time job in its own right - without having to look for other full-time work. This was not the case before this bill was signed. It’s a win-win and could take even more people off unemployment as these small businesses grow and add jobs.

The money can be used by states to offer a Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) Program, which currently exist in Delaware, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington. This provision expands the opportunity for entrepreneurs nationwide.

“California’s unemployment rate remains high, higher than the national average,” says Claudia Viek, C.E.O. of CAMEO. “If the unemployed can’t find a job, they can create their own. We need to unleash the hidden potential of our entrepreneurs and California needs to apply for these federal funds and train the unemployed to become their own boss.”

California had an SEA program in the late 1990’s, but it was abandoned. People didn’t take advantage of the program because there was a lack of training and they couldn’t qualify for their unemployment insurance extension. SEA 2.0 corrects these problems. California can and should take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.

CAMEO will work with Governor Jerry Brown and the Secretary of Labor Marty Morgenstern to reboot this program that will help those Californians who are out of work but want to start their own business. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that five percent of the unemployed have entrepreneurial potential, meaning there are an estimated 120,000 people in California who could benefit from self-employment training offered through the 100 Micro Enterprise Development and Small Business Development Corporations throughout the state.

Company Information:

CAMEO’s mission is to promote jobs, economic opportunity and community well-being through entrepreneurship training, business coaching and microfinance. CAMEO is California’s statewide Micro Enterprise association made up of over 160 organizations, agencies and individuals dedicated to furthering the fortunes of micro-businesses in California.

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Heidi PIckman
CAMEO
415-992-4484
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