U.S. Sen. Bob Casey on Wednesday afternoon announced a new plan that would grant tax breaks to small businesses that hire new employees and increase wages.

Called the Small Business Job Creation Act of 2013, the Democratic senator from Pennsylvania said his first bill of the new session would give an eligible business a $4, 250 tax break during the course of the year for hiring an additional employee.

The tax credit is capped at $500,000 per firm.

"This is a common-sense step to incentivize small businesses to hire," he said.

More than 80 percent of businesses in York County could benefit from his plan, based on data compiled by Casey's office.

There are 7,015 small businesses in the county with fewer than 500 employees, according to information from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau.

But a tax break might not be enough to urge local businesses to hire, said Bob Jensenius, executive vice president of the York County Chamber of Commerce.

"Employers hire based on demand for their products," he said. "A tax break won't matter if the demand isn't there."

But if the demand is there, the tax break would be a positive, Jensenius said.

Despite the recent brinkmanship surrounding the fiscal cliff deal and continued debate about government spending, Casey expects to get bipartisan support for bill.

"Adding jobs is something both Republicans and Democrats should support," he said.

The country has been adding about 150,000 jobs a month and needs to add about 250,000 jobs a month, Casey said.

"This is a way to do that," he said.

- Reach Candy Woodall at