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Bill would give investment incentives, tax-break extension to small business

Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand traveled to Buffalo on Friday to trumpet new legislation for extending tax breaks to small businesses that she said are increasingly owned by women.

Joined by fellow Democrat Rep. Brian Higgins of Buffalo, she picked Blue Sky Design Supply on Perry Street to unveil a bipartisan bill called the Small Business Tax Extenders Act. It would provide incentives to invest in small-business stock, increase deductions for start-up expenses and continue tax credits.

Gillibrand called small business the nation's most powerful job creator.

"I know women are ready to lead us to a thriving and stable economy, with new good-paying jobs that can support a family," she said. "When we provide the tools that small-business leaders need, we can ignite a real economic engine."

Higgins, meanwhile, said the federal government must encourage small businesses like Blue Sky Design Supply.

"As our economy recovers, we should be doing all that we can to provide small-business owners with the tools and resources that they need to innovate and thrive," he said.

According to Gillibrand and Higgins, their new bill includes provisions for:

*Excluding taxes on small-business capital gains by increasing the percentage of gain on small-business stock subject to tax.

*Increasing the deduction for start-up expenses such as permits, acquiring facilities and equipment from $5,000 to $10,000. They said eligible expenses include studies of potential markets, products, labor markets, or transportation systems; advertisements for the opening of a new business; compensation for consultants and employees undergoing training and their instructors; and travel for the purpose of securing suppliers, distributors and customers.

*Allowing small businesses to write off up to $500,000 in investments such as machinery and plant equipment.

*Allowing the self-employed to continue deducting health insurance premiums from Social Security and Medicare taxes.

*Allowing businesses to continue to carry back general business credits for up to five years.

*Allowing businesses that are not profitable to claim credits against years when they made money.

*Allowing small businesses to apply general business credits against the business alternative minimum tax.

The senator said she learned from small-business round tables that she sponsored last fall that more than 10 million U.S. firms are owned by women, adding 500,000 jobs between 1997 and 2007 while other private firms were contracting.

She also said that in New York, about 26 percent of small businesses are owned by women, who start with a fraction of the funding that men start with -- necessitating the tax credits plan.