U.S. senators Roy Blunt (Mo.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Ben Cardin (Md.), Bill Cassidy (La.), and Bob Menendez (N.J.) have introduced bipartisan legislation — the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and Jobs Act — to make permanent the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), which encourages employers to hire individuals who face significant barriers to employment. Currently, the WOTC expires on Dec. 31, 2019.
The WOTC provides an employer tax credit of between $1,200 and $9,600 per employee for hiring and retaining individuals that are part of certain targeted groups representing populations that have a difficult time finding work, or are often out of the labor force altogether.
The credit amount is based on the qualified wages paid to those employees within the targeted groups. These targeted groups include: veterans, long-term unemployed, ex-felons, people with disabilities, summer youth employees, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and Supplemental Security Income recipients.
“Having a job is about more than just bringing home a paycheck — it’s about having pride in your work and confidence in your future,” said Blunt. “Making the Work Opportunity Tax Credit permanent will help get more Americans who have difficulty finding employment off the sidelines and into the workforce.”
“Our economy is creating jobs and increasing wages, and that’s good news, but we have much more work ahead to help those individuals who are in the shadows and struggling to find meaningful employment,” said Portman. “Encouraging employers to hire those who have the most trouble finding work is good policy, and that’s why we should make the Work Opportunity Tax Credit permanent.”
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“Hard work doesn’t pay off like it used to, with too many workers trying but struggling to get ahead,” said Brown. “People can and want to contribute to their communities, and they deserve a fair shot. The WOTC provides that opportunity, and awards companies for investing in their greatest asset — the American worker.”
“The Work Opportunity Tax Credit is one of our best tools to promote the employment of those who find it hardest to get a job,” said Cardin. “But to be effective employers need the certainty a permanent extension provides and tens of thousands of families in Maryland need to know we have their back from now on. That’s why we need to invest in this effective program permanently, to ensure those who need the most help are getting it.”
“We have record low unemployment thanks to our pro-jobs policies,” said Cassidy. “Making the Work Opportunity Tax Credit permanent is good for American businesses and those still struggling to find work.”
“We have both a moral obligation and an economic interest in helping those who’ve been out of the workforce find a steady job so that they can support their families and contribute to our society,” said Menendez. “Making the Work Opportunity Tax Credit permanent will be a powerful incentive for employers to hire and retain veterans, the long-term unemployed, and other qualifying individuals who deserve a fair shot in our economy.”