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EDITORIAL: A tax break for new hiring

The news on jobs isn't good. Employers nationally shed 125,000 of them last month. With an unemployment rate of 9.5 percent, we're still just treading water.

Long Island is doing better, with unemployment at 6.7 percent in May - but that still translates into 99,000 jobless workers. Times are hard for too many of our neighbors.

One glimmer of good news nationally is that many of the jobs that disappeared last month were Census Bureau positions, temporary to begin with. Private employers added 83,000 jobs. That's moving in the right direction, just much too slowly.

So Long Island employers considering new hiring should help by doing it now. That would allow them to take advantage of the HIRE Act, sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer. They won't have to pay the 6.2 percent Social Security tax for the rest of the year for any new employee who had been jobless for the 60 days before beginning work. The reduced withholding has no effect on the employees' future Social Security benefits. And employers could also claim a $1,000 tax credit for each worker kept on the payroll for at least a year.

Businesses hire when demand for their goods and services makes adding workers profitable. No tax break will change that logic. But this one gives companies, farmers, universities and nonprofit organizations considering hiring a good reason to do it sooner, rather than later. And sooner would be very good news for the jobless on Long Island. hN


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