WASHINGTON – Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), Ranking Member of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today reintroduced legislation to help military reservists who lose income when they’re called to active duty and the small businesses that employ them.

“The long and repeated call-ups by the Bush administration continue to put a strain on Guard and Reserve families and small businesses that lose an employee for more than a year,” Kerry said. “This tax credit will help preserve our great citizen soldier tradition by easing the financial hardships that burden military families and small employers.”

The bill, the Small Business Military Reservist Tax Credit Act, would provide a tax credit of up to $21,000 to any small business of 50 or fewer employees whose owner, manager or employee is a reservist who has been called up for active duty. Of that amount, $15,000 can be used to cover any reduction in salary for a reservist called up to active duty and $6,000 may be used to hire a temporary replacement. For small manufacturers with 100 or fewer employees, the bill would provide up to $30,000 in tax credits, with up to $20,000 to cover the salary difference and up to $10,000 to hire a temporary replacement.

Unlike many big businesses, which can afford to provide supplemental income to cover the salary disparity for military reservists called to service, most small businesses cannot afford to provide this benefit. Forty-one percent of military reservists and National Guard members face a pay cut when they’re called for active duty.

Over 475,000 Guard members and reservists have been called up since President Bush issued Executive Order 13223 on Sept. 14, 2001, and currently there are about 193,458 members of the Guard and Reserve on active duty assisting in the war on terrorism. The United States Chamber of Commerce estimates that 70 percent of military reservists called up for active duty are employed by small- or medium-sized companies. The Small Business Military Reservist Tax Credit Act was previously introduced as S.1595 during the 108th Congress. Also cosponsoring the legislation are: Sens. Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), Patty Murray (Wash.), John D. Rockefeller IV (W.Va.), Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.).