Each year, it’s common for legislators to look to the Work Opportunity Tax Credit as a platform on which to base new legislation for issues they care about. The following are some of the bills introduced this year.
Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has introduced Senate Bill 255, the Disability Employment Inventive Act. This bill would add a new target group to WOTC for individuals receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Furthermore, the bill would increase the amount of credit available for hiring SSDI recipients as well as two existing target groups, vocational rehabilitee referrals and SSI recipients. The increased credit would be up to $7,500 earned over two years instead of the current $2,400.
H.R. 322 was introduced by Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) to add a targeted group to WOTC for veterans credentialed to work in a field of renewable energy.
U.S. Virgin Islands Rep. Stacy Plaskett introduced H.R. 413 to add a WOTC credit for small businesses who hire members of the Ready Reserve or National Guard. The bill would also make the veteran target groups permanent.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), the ranking minority member of the Senate Finance Committee introduced S. 136, the ELEVATE Act of 2019. This bill creates an entirely new program to expand employment training services for individuals with barriers to employment. Among its provisions is an increase to the WOTC credit for individuals who also met the criteria of the ELEVATE Act.
According to news articles, Nevada’s Senator Jacky Rosen plans to introduce a bill that will expand WOTC to include a target group for student veterans using the GI benefits. Colorado Senator Cory Gardner says that he plans on introducing a bill lowering the requirements for employers to receive a credit for hiring veterans so that even those hired for internships or part-time employment would be eligible.
Perhaps most significantly, a pair of California Assembly Members have introduced A.B. 1726 to create a California WOTC state income tax credit in parallel to the federal credit. The California incentive would roughly mirror the federal credit for employers who retain their WOTC certified employers for at least 500 hours.
In general, these bills are unlikely to pass, but they demonstrate an ongoing support for the underlying WOTC and a recognition that WOTC is an effective policy tool.