By STEVE BITTENBENDER
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) – More than 100 Kentucky small businesses took advantage of a tax incentive program in 2021, according to a statement from Gov. Andy Beshear.
Those businesses invested more than $3.6 million back into their businesses and helped create nearly 340 new jobs.
The Kentucky Small Business Tax Credit program offers incentives for companies with no more than 50 full-time workers. Eligible companies that agree to hire at least one new employee and spend at least $5,000 for new equipment or technology can receive annual credits that start at $3,500 and cap at $25,000.
In 2021, the state reported nearly $1.2 million in credits were awarded to 107 companies in 37 counties.
The 339 new jobs the companies created have an average hourly wage of $25.89, not including benefits.
“We know Kentucky’s small businesses are strong and resilient, as we have seen them contribute so much to our economy over the past year,” Gov. Beshear said in a statement. “This further proves that we are just getting started, on the heels of breaking our state’s economic development records.”
Overall, Kentucky saw record job announcements and investment numbers for 2021. Private-sector employers have announced plans to invest $11.2 billion to expand or relocate existing or start new operations in the state. Those initiatives are slated to create more than 18,000 new jobs in the near future.
The largest project is the $5.8 billion electric-vehicle battery facility Ford Motor Company and SK Innovation plan to open in Glendale, Ky. When it opens, currently planned for 2025, it will create 5,000 new jobs.
While projects like Ford’s battery plant make headlines, it’s the smaller businesses that lay the foundation for Kentucky’s economy, officials said. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2021 profile on Kentucky, there are 360,756 small businesses in the state, which makes up 99.3 percent of the state’s businesses.
Those businesses employ 716,731 workers, representing 43.6 percent of the state’s workforce.