Rabb lauds House passage of legislation to bolster business start-ups

Bill would help working poor in starting up local businesses

HARRISBURG, March 18 – Legislation co-sponsored by state Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., that would provide more opportunities for entrepreneurship across the commonwealth passed the House today, 192-2.

House Bill 324 would permit municipalities with a population of 10,000 people or more to encourage development of micro-enterprises, businesses that employ up to five people. In so doing, such initiatives can reduce the number of people participating in social programs and transition them into the full-time workforce.

“With my background as a business author, practitioner and professor teaching entrepreneurship, it led me to help extend the reach of this proposed initiative to a more diverse set of beneficiaries, including worker cooperatives,” Rabb said. “This business assistance program would now be made available to more prospective business owners who would most benefit from it, and prevent others outside of Pennsylvania from taking advantage of opportunities meant for state residents already invested in their local communities.”

The legislation also would encourage partnerships with existing authorities and redevelopment authorities to operate a community development authority that would issue loans to micro-enterprises. Funding for the loans would come from money contributed by municipalities through a small portion of fees and fines collected, as well as money through private partnerships.

Rabb said that bipartisanship helped to move this bill forward.

“Representative Mark Keller, former majority chairman of the House Urban Affairs Committee, urged me to incorporate my constructive feedback from a committee meeting into this legislation when it was first introduced last session. In turn, I added an amendment to this bill last year, which was adopted unanimously by the House,” Rabb explained. “Now, the bill has been reintroduced this session, and only by working in good faith and in bipartisan fashion could today's passage of House Bill 324 have been achieved."

The legislation now goes to the Senate for consideration.