Monday, February 1, 2010

My Open Letter to Senator Charles Schumer

I've been trying (in vain) to find the bill which helped me in 1983-84 hire a young woman as an advertising sales executive for what was then my fledgling newspaper, Downtown Magazine.

I was able to determine that it must have been part of the 1983 Emergency Employment Act, but little else, so, upon hearing that Senator Schumer and others were going to propose another "tax credit" type bill in coming days, I decided to query New York's senior Senator. The text of my message appears below:


Dear Senator Schumer,

Please have somebody on your staff research the 1983 Emergency Employment Act. I ask that you do this because I believe I was an employer who received great benefit from the implementation of one of the programs.

I had started up a newspaper in Rochester, NY in 1982 and it was just beginning to turn a small profit in '83. I don't recall the specific agency, but, if my memory serves correct, the deal was that if I hired an unemployed person - and I did - the government (it may have been NY State or the US) agreed to pay half of the wages for a period of time - I believe it was six months.

This was a great program and allowed me to hire a young woman to sell advertising for my newspaper. She and I both benefitted. She got a job and I got half of my money back over the first six months of her employment.

It was a pretty nice, simple arrangement. All I had to do was pay her on time, submit proof of payment (and all taxes and withholding was paid by me) once a month, and the agency cut me a check for half of her gross pay.

Now, I believe that this kind of program would get people back to work in a hurry, especially if targeted at small businesses with less than 10 employees, or some other similar threshold. It worked for me, and, incidentally, the woman worked for me for a few more years after that initial six months, so the job was not "make work," but real, productive employment.

It is my firm conviction that the federal government has not done enough for small business during this financial downturn, and that a jobs bill that actually puts money into the hands of employers, rather than shadowy tax breaks or credits, offers the true path to recovery.

My belief is that small businesses, which create 75-90% of all jobs in this country, can do what Wall Street, the Fed, Treasury and congress have been unable to do, but, we need some help and some time in which to do so.

I trust that you and your staff will give this matter serious consideration. I am going to publish this entire communication on my blog,

so, I expect a positive response. Please, stop the pandering and posturing and propose a jobs bill that works from the bottom up.

Thank you,

Rick Gagliano
Publisher, Downtown Magazine (
Money Daily

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