Bill Would Create Incentive for Hiring Homeless Employees

(KCPW News) Employers would get rewarded for hiring the homeless, under a bill being proposed this legislative session. Thursday, lawmakers in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee voted in favor of a bill that Democratic Representative Brian King says would compensate businesses with a $1,000 tax credit.

“They’re not really homeless in the sense that they’re living under the viaduct or don’t have place of residence,” he explains. “The residence as defined by the bill is a transitional living center or a supportive living center, some place like Palmer Court or like the Road Home.”

Businesses wouldn’t be eligible to receive the tax credit until six months after the employee began working a minimum of 20 hours a week. King says although his proposal comes with a $144,000 price tag, he feels the state will end up making more money in the end.

“If we can help this vulnerable population get back into the economy, get back on their feet, it will increase actually the tax base in a way that will make up for those funds to a significant degree,” says King. “Maybe it will more than make up for that tax credit, when you have individuals who were homeless who are now back paying taxes themselves.”

King says he has received mixed reactions from business groups  so far, with some feeling like it’s not enough of an incentive, but others calling it a great idea. HB 101 easily passed out of committee on an 11-to-1 vote, and will be heard on the House floor.