February 23, 2010
Contact: Michael Cox (503) 986-1904
House Passes Bill to “BOOST” Job Creation
HB 3698 will make loans or award grants to small businesses that create jobs
SALEM – The House today passed HB 3698, which creates the BOOST Fund to increase the availability of working capital to Oregon small businesses that create jobs and hire Oregonians to fill them.  Oregon House Democrats are committed to continue making Oregon an attractive place to open and grow small businesses.  BOOST is part of that effort.
“We hear time and time again that the biggest obstacle small businesses face to creating jobs is a lack of access to working capital,” said House Democratic Majority Leader Mary Nolan (D-SW Portland).  “This bill changes the game by providing capital for small businesses that are dedicated to creating new, full-time jobs in Oregon.”
The bill establishes the Building Opportunities for Oregon Small Business Today Fund (BOOST Fund) and authorizes the Oregon Business Development Department to make loans or award grants to small businesses from the fund.  To qualify for BOOST funds a small business must demonstrate a reasonable capacity to increase employment, establish a goal of creating new full-time jobs in Oregon with a reasonable prospect of achieving such goals, and demonstrate a history of providing comparable wages to its employees.
 “This bill moves quickly to give small businesses the incentives and capital they need to hire unemployed Oregon workers.  The loans and grants could get to businesses as early as May, far more quickly than tax credits or other types of incentives,” said Representative David Edwards (D-Hillsboro), who carried the bill on the House floor.
HB 3698 provides four year, low interest loans of up to $150,000 for Oregon businesses that meet the eligibility criteria.  These loans will offer needed working capital for small businesses for purposes of job retention.  The bill also provides grants of up to $2,500 per new employee to eligible Oregon businesses that hire new full time employees who had been unemployed in Oregon for at least 60 days.  Employers aren’t eligible until jobs have been in place for 6 months, and the total amount of grant per applicant is limited to $50,000.
“This bill rewards those small businesses that make the decision to hire new employees and accelerate those hiring decisions.  If demand for the fund is high, businesses may decide to hire new employees sooner rather than waiting,” said Representative Arnie Roblan (D-Coos Bay).
BOOST will offer $5 million in capital and is funded by augmenting collections efforts by the Department of Revenue, based on gaps in our collection efforts identified during the tax amnesty program. 
The bill is supported by Oregon Small Business for Responsible Leadership, a nonpartisan advocacy organization committed to the creation, promotion and preservation of small business that is beneficial to Oregon communities.
The bill is also supported by the Oregon Business Association, which advocates for long-term enhancement of Oregon’s business environment and quality of life, providing bipartisan, statewide business leadership that strives to ensure Oregon’s long-term prosperity.
HB 3698 now moves to the Senate for consideration.
House Passes Bill to BOOST Job Creation