Rep. Keith Gillespie (R-Hellam) today announced that his House Bill 827, which would create the Microenterprise Loan Program, has been signed in both chambers of the General Assembly and sent to the governor’s desk.
The bill aims to offer municipalities an additional economic development and revitalization tool that addresses unemployment through the advancement of microenterprises developed via private-public partnerships. The program is aimed toward low-income individuals with great business ideas, to help them pull themselves and their families out of poverty. The bill defines “microenterprise” as a start-up entrepreneur with 25 or fewer employees and an average annual gross receipt of $3 million or less over the last three years.
“This program is designed to continue our fight against blight through the reuse of buildings in our downtowns, and to move people out of social programs and into employment,” said Gillespie. “As we work toward Pennsylvania’s economic recovery, we need to give our municipalities every tool we can to create a friendly environment for new, small businesses.”
The Microenterprise Loan Program would be run by an existing administrative entity in each individual municipality. The program would be funded through grants from the federal government, state government, municipalities and private sources.
Under the bill, a municipality and a school district may grant a property tax abatement schedule to a property that is leased to a microenterprise under this program for one or more consecutive years, and is owned by the administrative entity. The abatement schedule would be as follows:
• For the first, second and third years – 100% of eligible assessment is exempted.
• For the fourth year – 90% exempted.
• Fifth year – 75% exempted.
• Sixth year – 60% exempted.
• Seventh year – 45% exempted.
• Eighth year – 30% exempted.
• Ninth year – 15% exempted.
• 10th year – 10% exempted.
• After the 10th year, the tax exemption will terminate.
A loan applicant under the program must complete business courses and workshops on operating a business, creating a market strategy and customer interaction to be eligible to receive a loan. If the applicant is a worker-cooperative corporation, all owning members must attend the training required under the bill. The administrative entity may partner with private entities, nonprofits or organizations capable of providing the training to loan applicants.
Representative Keith Gillespie
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Kevin DiGuiseppe