PALM DESERT — U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D.,  joined by regional chambers of commerce and local business owners, has introduced new legislation that encourages small businesses to invest in their workers.

H.R. 6648, the Rewarding American Investment to Support Employees (RAISE) Act encourages businesses to give their best employees a raise by providing employers a tax credit equal to 10 percent of their total payroll increase that year. This will particularly help small businesses in California during the transition to a $15/hour minimum wage, which will be in full effect by 2023, according to Ruiz.

Ruiz Announces Bill to Increase Workers' Pay“Our economy has been growing for a decade and middle-class families are getting by – but they’re not getting ahead,” Ruiz said in a prepared statement. “The RAISE Act will support small businesses and their workers, putting more money in the pockets of hard working, middle-class families and driving real economic growth in our region.”

“Running a small business is an uphill battle that presents many challenges to survive and even more to grow,” said Brandon Weimer, owner of Brandini Toffee. “Brandini Toffee is in full support of investing in our people, yet like many small businesses, will never be fully prepared to do so. Any legislation that incentivizes these ideals and eases the transition to increasing wages is a no-brainer in my opinion.”

“The RAISE Act will help allow businesses to recognize and more-adequately compensate their existing staffs, thus rewarding employees for their hard work and longevity,” said David Powell, Executive Director of the Desert Business Association. “This reinvestment in their most valuable asset – those people providing excellent products and services – will potentially minimize staff turnover saving small businesses the costs of hiring and training new employees, as well as ultimately creating a more prosperous and satisfied workforce.”

Ernesto Rosales Chairman of the Board for the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce, said, “This legislation represents the types of pro-growth policies the GCVCC supports and would benefit both business owners and employees,” said “The GCVCC urges Congress to consider and pass the RAISE Act.”

Brian Sylva president of the Beaumont California Chamber of Commerce, said, “By providing a tax credit to employers to raise wages, this legislation will help small and medium sized businesses reward hard work and retain their best employees.”

“The legislation being proposed by Congressman Ruiz is exactly the kind of logical tax incentive that assist small business owners in providing well deserved wage increases for hard working employees,” said DeLynne Ano, CEO of Scape, Inc.

According to the Pew Research Center, using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, real wages—that is, wages after accounting for inflation—have barely increased in decades, with most wage gains going to the top 10 percent of earners. Since 2000, average weekly wages for workers in the lowest quarter of earners have increased by 4.3 percent, compared to a cumulative 15.7 percent for those in the top 10 percent.

The RAISE Act provides a tax credit valued at 10 percent of the difference between year-to-year employee wages for all workers earning $75,000 a year or less (adjusted for inflation). To ensure that the benefits are realized by small and medium business, businesses can only claim a maximum of $500,000 under the tax credit.

The RAISE Act has been endorsed by the following organizations: U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Desert Business Association, the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce, and the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce.