WASHINGTON – On March 17, the National Restaurant Association (N.R.A.) praised passage of Senate legislation it said will help many small business owners in the restaurant industry create jobs. America’s restaurant industry is the nation’s second-largest, private-sector employer with a workforce of nearly 13 million.

The Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (H.R. 2847) extends the temporary increase in expensing for small businesses and includes a payroll tax holiday and tax credit for employers who hire and retain certain employees. Next stop for the bill will is at the White House for the president’s signature.

“We are pleased that this package includes incentives to protect small businesses and create jobs,” said Dawn Sweeney, N.R.A. president and chief executive officer. "This package is good for the economy, and is positive news for the restaurant industry. Every dollar spent dining out generates $2.34 in business for other industries.”

Last month, the N.R.A. sent a letter to senators supporting these tax provisions. Under the payroll tax holiday, employers who hire long-term unemployed workers would not be required to pay the worker’s 6.2% Social Security payroll tax, up to the maximum social security taxable wage of $106,800, for the duration of 2010.

The bill includes a job retention credit that allows employers to claim a credit on their 2011 tax return for each retained employee. The bill also provides an extension through 2010 of the temporary increase in the annual amount small businesses can expense from $125,000 to $250,000.

Although supportive of the Jobs bill provisions, N.R.A. has also strongly advocated for other tax provisions that would create additional restaurant industry job growth. The association has urged Congress to complete work on legislation that would retroactively extend the 15-year depreciation schedule for restaurant improvements and new construction through 2010.

N.R.A. has also advocated for Congress to increase the deduction for business meals and entertainment from 50% to 80%.