Rice unveils bipartisan bill to help small businesses develop succession plans

U.S. Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) on Feb. 11 introduced a bipartisan bill that would require the administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA) to establish a program encouraging small business concerns to make business succession plans.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy,” Rep. Rice said. “I am proud to introduce this legislation that focuses on the future and gives small businesses access to the tools they need to succeed, no matter what life throws at them.”

The congressman signed on as an original cosponsor of H.R. 971 with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL) to direct the SBA to create an online business succession planning toolkit that would help small businesses set up a business succession plan with the support of the SBA or resource partners. The SBA also would be required to provide trained staff or partners to help small businesses create their plan, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Rice’s office.

Additionally, H.R. 971 would encourage the SBA to hold business succession planning workshops or events across the country; and incentivize small business owners to create their own plan through multiple tax breaks for businesses, including a one-time $250 tax break to create a business succession plan and an additional one-time $250 tax break when the succession plan is executed, the summary states. 

“In the United States there are nearly 30 million small businesses, but less than 42 percent have succession plans,” said Rep. Rice. “Incentivizing succession plans through a small tax credit will not only benefit the business, but will also benefit the business’s community.”

The legislation is endorsed by 18 national, state and local-level small business organizations, including the National Small Business Association, the Illinois Farm Bureau, numerous chambers of commerce, and several economic development partnerships.