Tax Extenders Bill Survives Committee – Empowerment Zones and New Target Group Added!

Written by Vaughn Hromiko on April 3rd, 2014

Paul Suplizio, President of the WOTC Coalition gave us an e-mail play-by-play this morning as the Senate Finance Committee considered amendments to the EXPIRE Act.  I’ll give you the big news now, then return later with some additional analysis.

First, according to the Committee’s press release, the Senate Finance Committee approved the EXPIRE Act with a strong bipartisan vote.  More about that later.

Also, empowerment-zone residency was added back to WOTC’s designated-community resident target group.   It is not yet clear to me if the provision also extends the empowerment-zone program itself.

Lastly, the Committee approved an amendment offered by Senators Rob Portman, Ben Cardin and Mark Warner adding a brand new WOTC target group for the long-term unemployed.

MORE TO COME.

 

Draft Senate Tax Extenders Bill Published Today – WOTC Yes, Empowerment Zones No

Written by Vaughn Hromiko on April 1st, 2014

The markup of the Senate Finance Committee’s tax extenders bill, which was scheduled for Wednesday, has been postponed until Thursday. The bill’s formal name is the “Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency (EXPIRE) Act.

The Chairman’s Mark was published today and is available on the Senate Finance Committee’s website.  It will be considered by the full Committee on Thursday, amendments offered and approved, etc. It will then pass before the entire Senate for a vote.

The EXPIRE Act was presented this morning as a bi-partisan offer by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and the committee’s Ranking Minority Member Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

The bill includes a retroactive 2-year extension of WOTC, mostly intact. The Empowerment Zone Employment Credit, however, is missing from the bill. If this omission makes it through Thursday’s markup, it will also mean that empowerment zone residents will no longer be recognized as designated community members for purposes of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC).

Here is the Senate Finance Committee’s Press Release.

Here is a summary of the bill and here is the proposal in its entirety.

The bill gives each of the following employment based tax credits a 2-year extension:

  • Indian employment tax credit
  • Employer wage credit for activated military reservists
  • Work Opportunity Tax Credit

Also of interest to many WOTC Planet readers, the Research and experimentation tax credit (aka R&D) also has a 2-year extension.

Action Required

Paul Suplizio, President of the WOTC Coalition recognized the delay as an opportunity for WOTC proponents to reach out to Republican committee members and to request their support for the bill in markup.

If a majority of Finance Committee Republicans join in approving the bill Thursday, it will significantly increase the odds of passing the Senate. Please contact your Committee Republican senators, other than Senator Hatch, and urge them to vote to approve the EXPIRE Act when it comes before the Finance Committee on Thursday.

 

 

 

WOTC and other Tax Extenders Are Facing an Imminent Threat

Written by Vaughn Hromiko on March 31st, 2014

Senate and House committee votes that may determine the future of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) are approaching in the US Congress. On Tuesday (tomorrow) the Senate Finance Committee has scheduled a hearing to markup a tax-extenders bill. The Committee will then vote to recommend the bill on Wednesday, April 2nd.

While WOTC is almost assured to be included in the Senate’s extender bill, it is not immune to amendments. WOTC proponents hope to stave off any detrimental changes, keeping the program intact until it can be revisited later in the context of comprehensive tax reform.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (Democrat from Oregon), stated on Thursday,

I am hopeful we can reach a bipartisan agreement on extenders in the days ahead,” Wyden said in a statement. “This means jobs and much-needed certainty for families and businesses alike. But let me be clear – I’m determined that this is the last time we do extenders and would like to leverage this last extension to reform the broken tax code.

The immediate outlook for WOTC in the US House of Representatives, however, is somewhat bleak. Rather than considering a comprehensive extenders bill, the House Ways and Means Committee has laid out a schedule to individually review each tax-extender, including WOTC. Those the Committee likes will be recommended for permanent status. All others are headed for the trash heap.

Obviously, this is at odds with the Senate Finance Committee’s plan for a tax-extenders bill. But worse than that, Representative David Camp, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, is on record opposing an extension of WOTC. It’s quite possible that WOTC could be defeated in the House during this, the very first round of the House’s tax-reform process.

Last week, Paul Suplizio, President of the WOTC Coalition, painted the situation in this way:

The situation is critical because Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp is against continuing WOTC—he is going to urge his Committee to vote against the motion to make WOTC permanent. The Chairman has called for another hearing on WOTC and says he is willing to listen—and he has listened. Several times over the past two years our delegations have met with Chairman Camp and each time his opposition to WOTC has grown stronger.

In the coming vote, WOTC Coalition will be pushing against the committee chairman, and the committee chairman will be holding the cards. The power of every committee chairman lies in getting his members to vote with him. Members sympathetic to WOTC won’t want to cross their chairman who is the “go to” person when they need something. 

How then can we win the vote in Ways and Means? We laid out our lobbying plan two years ago—we must assure the votes of all 16 Democrats on the Committee, and at the same time get 4 Republicans to cross party lines and vote for WOTC against the chairman. That will provide a majority of 20, just enough to carry the motion to make WOTC permanent.

If you support WOTC, it’s time to contact each Republican Member of the House Ways and Means Committee from your state and each state where you do business.  Help your clients to do the same.

Here is a list of the Republican members.   The WOTC Coalition recommends that you do not lobby Aaron Schock of Illinois or Lynn Jenkins of Kansas.  Both of these gentlemen already support continuing WOTC.

Dave Camp, MI
Sam Johnson, TX
Kevin Brady, TX
Paul D. Ryan, WI
Devin Nunes, CA
Pat Tiberi, OH
Dave Reichert, WA
Charles Boustany, Jr, LA
Peter Roskam, IL
Jim Gerlach, PA
Tom Price, GA
Vern Buchanan, FL
Adrian Smith, NE
Aaron Schock, IL**
Lynn Jenkins, KS**
Erik Paulsen, MN
Kenny Marchant, TX
Diane Black, TN
Tom Reed, NY
Todd Young, IN
Mike Kelly, PA
Tim Griffin, AR
James B. Renacci, OH

 

 

Utah’s Hire the Homeless Tax Credit Passes State Senate and House

Written by Vaughn Hromiko on March 14th, 2014

After more than a year in waiting, HB 140 was passed by the Utah State House on Monday. Just four days later, it sprinted through the State Senate, which passed the bill on Thursday.

Find descriptions of this program in my previous posts.

Previous posts:

Hire the Homeless Tax Credit Passed by Utah House

Proposed Hire the Homeless Bill Advances in Utah Legislature

 

Hire the Homeless Tax Credit Passed by Utah House

Written by Vaughn Hromiko on March 11th, 2014

It’s been more than a year since this proposal was cleared by committee as House Bill 101.  (For prior post, read here).  The state tax credit for employers who hire the homeless was narrowly approved by the Utah House on Monday. It now goes to the State Senate for consideration.

Employers who hire homeless people could be eligible for tax credits of $2,000. The employee must be continually employed for nine months for the employer to qualify, and the employer must have paid the worker at least $4,000 in wages during that period. 

The legislation limits the pool of available tax credits to $100,000 in its inaugural year

Read more in the Deseret News.

 

Unique Opportunity for WOTC Supporters in Oregon

Written by Vaughn Hromiko on February 11th, 2014

Now that Senator Ron Wydon (Dem of Oregon) has taken his new post as Chairman of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, WOTC proponents in Oregon have a unique and timely opportunity.

Senator Wydon is known for his regular town-hall meetings and his openness to constituents throughout the State of Oregon. According to the Senator’s website, he has already held more than 600 such meetings.

WOTC supporters in Oregon should take any opportunity to attend Senator Wydon’s town hall and to ask him to see that WOTC is renewed. Remember, you won’t just be speaking with an Oregon Senator, respectable as that may be.  You will be speaking with the new Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

To help get the most from your face time with the Senator, Paul Suplizio, President of the WOTC Coalition, has offered to provide industry-specific WOTC Fact Sheets to anyone meeting with Senator Wydon.

We can arm you with Fact Sheets and Talking Points, geared to the target group or industry you represent, to make this face-to-face contact with Senator Wyden truly effective.

Contact us now [at wotc@cox.net] and we’ll tell you where and when the next Town Hall Meetings in Oregon will occur.

Remember, when the Senate adjourns this week, it won’t return till the 24th, so there’s a good chance Senator Wyden will be in Oregon during the break. He needs to know that people in Oregon feel WOTC is important and take its renewal seriously.

 

Update: I spoke with Senator Wydon’s office in Salem, Oregon this afternoon. According to that office, there are no town-hall meetings currently on the Senator’s schedule. However, the point was emphasized that the Senator rarely schedules town-hall meetings very far in advance and that we should continue to check.

Of course, while the Senator is in Oregon, you may have an opportunity to meet with him or his staff next week at one of his six Oregon office locations.  This is your opportunity!  Check below and give the closest office a call.

 

Portland
911 NE 11th Ave., Suite 630
Portland, OR, 97232
tel (503) 326-7525

Salem
707 13th St., SE Suite 285
Salem, OR, 97301
tel (503) 589-4555

Eugene
405 East 8th Ave., Suite 2020
Eugene, OR, 97401
tel (541) 431-0229

Medford
Federal Courthouse
310 West 6th St., Room 118
Medford, OR, 97501
tel (541) 858-5122

Bend
The Jamison Building
131 NW Hawthorne Ave., Suite 107
Bend, OR, 97701
tel (541) 330-9142

La Grande
SAC Annex Building
105 Fir St,. Suite 201
La Grande, OR, 97850
tel (541) 962-7691

 

Tax Extenders a Top Priority for New Chairman of U.S. Senate Finance Committee

Written by Vaughn Hromiko on February 11th, 2014

Senator Ron Wydon (Dem of Oregon) took over this week as the new Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Senator Wydon replaces Senator Max Baucus, who was recently appointed as the United States Ambassador to Japan. Like Senator Baucus, Wydon favors an early passage of tax extenders, including WOTC.

By mid January, Senator Wydon had committed to make passage of tax extenders an early priority for 2014. Roll Call reported on January 16th

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said that renewing more than 50 tax breaks, known as tax extenders, that expired at the end of the year will be a top priority for Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., when he gets the Finance Committee gavel in the coming weeks.

“I talked to Wyden today and he’s going to focus on that as soon as he gets the job,” Reid said.

As Wydon steps into his new job, circumstances surrounding WOTC and other tax extenders have not changed significantly; if anything, however, things are at least inching toward a favorable outcome.

While pressure is mounting, House Republican leadership so far has not moved on tax extenders. Therefore, at this point the WOTC Coalition chooses to focus its efforts on seeking a bi-partisan tax- extenders proposal from the Senate Finance Committee.

Paul Suplizio, President of the WOTC Coalition, said on Friday,

“We need to concentrate now on two things—(1) pressing Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee to reach agreement on a two-year bi-partisan extenders bill, and (2) pressing all other senators to urge their leaders to pass a two-year extenders bill as soon as possible.”

CALL TO ACTION:

The following is published here with permission.

Subject: Action For WOTC And Tax Extenders Shifts To Senate
From: “Paul Suplizio” <wotc@cox.net>
Date: Fri, February 07, 2014 2:20 pm

February 7, 2014

Speaker John Boehner’s first order of business after the GOP retreat last week was to canvass House Republicans for provisions they want on a bill to raise the debt ceiling, which must be passed this month. His goal is to consolidate GOP support for the debt bill by attaching “sweeteners” that would attract votes.

Thanks to plentiful contacts made by our Coalition and other extenders before and during the GOP retreat last week, we followed up by approaching the Speaker with a proposal to attaching WOTC and other extenders to the debt ceiling bill.

There are around 90 Republicans in the House who won’t vote for an increase in the debt limit on principle, so Democratic votes are needed to pass a bill. WOTC and other extenders have strong Democratic support and are in the President’s budget, so we believe he would sign an increase in the debt ceiling with the extenders attached.

Today the Speaker had made no decision but appears to be settling on a bill lifting the debt ceiling with a Medicare doctors fix and military pensions attached. The debt limit doesn’t have to be increased until February 27th so the Speaker could take his time, but House Democrats are holding a retreat next week and the Senate is out the entire following week so floor time is limited.

Our view is the House won’t produce an extenders bill unless the Speaker tells Ways and Means to do so, and that hasn’t happened yet. With the House immobile on the extenders at this point, our best opportunity now lies in the Senate.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid has been show-casing Democratic priorities—voting on unemployment benefits this week, scheduling military retirement benefits next week—and we know the extenders are high in his priorities. He’s still the lead sponsor of the only significant extenders bill in Congress, S. 1859, and he could bring it up again at any time. On debt ceiling, he’s arguing for a clean bill but that doesn’t rule out a deal with Senator McConnell.

Now that Senator Baucus has been confirmed as Ambassador to Japan and Senator Ron Wyden has become chairman of the Finance Committee, we can urge the new chairman to work with Senator Hatch, the Republican leader on Finance, to get a bi-partisan deal to the Senate soonest. A bi-partisan deal on the extenders will likely assure passage, whereas Republicans have objected to the Reid bill, S.1859, because it hasn’t been pruned of extenders they don’t believe are worth the cost.

We need to concentrate now on two things—(1) pressing Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee to reach agreement on a two-year bi-partisan extenders bill, and (2) pressing all other senators to urge their leaders to pass a two-year extenders bill as soon as possible.

Initial contact by fax on your organization’s letterhead must be followed up to be effective. Arrange a meeting or phone call with your senator, or work with his or her legislative director to make sure your message has gotten through. Then check in once a week with the legislative staff to urge speedy action because of the harm to those WOTC is meant to serve–past program interruptions have resulted in hiring of WOTC workers being cut close to half.

Here’s a message you can put into your own words and embellish with the experience of your own organization:

Message for Democratic or Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee:

Dear Senator:

The work opportunity tax credit expired last December, and as yet the Senate has failed to move S.1859, the tax extenders bill introduced by Senator Reid. Moreover, the one-year extension of WOTC in S.1859 is no longer appropriate because Congress may not return after the coming election to pass another extension. Handing the ball to the new Congress could cause another five or six month interruption of WOTC hiring, which was on pace to reach one million jobs for veterans, people with disabilities, and long-term unemployed workers on food stamps last year. These WOTC hires are vital for people who have the toughest time finding a job and the tax credits that flow into the local economy are important to our communities, yet every interruption cuts the pace of hiring by half. Please work with your colleagues on Finance to send a bi-partisan two-year extension to the Senate as soon as possible. We also urge you to remove the age-40 cap on workers receiving food stamps, which discriminates against the many low-income seniors looking for work.

Message for all other senators:

Dear Senator:

The work opportunity tax credit expired last December and still the Senate has failed to move S.1859, the tax extenders bill introduced by Senator Reid. WOTC was on pace to reach one million jobs for veterans, people with disabilities, and long-term unemployed workers on food stamps this year, but we know from past experience every interruption cuts the pace of hiring by half. These WOTC hires are vital for people who have the toughest time finding a job, and the tax credits that flow into the local economy are important to our communities. Please urge Senator Reid and Senator McConnell to work together to craft a bi-partisan tax extenders bill, including a two-year extension of WOTC, and pass it as soon as possible.

 

Many thanks for your outpouring of support for our efforts in the House these past two weeks. We have a real opportunity in the Senate now—by re-doubling our action there, we can get a tax extenders bill to the floor as we did in December.

Should you have any question, do not hesitate to contact me at 703-587-4566.

PAUL E. SUPLIZIO
President, WOTC Coalition

 

 

URGENT WOTC – Just a Few Hours to Contact Republican House Member

Written by Vaughn Hromiko on January 29th, 2014

House Republicans begin gathering TODAY for their annual retreat where members hope to set the agenda for Republican legislation in 2014. Members will have an opportunity to vocalize their concerns and priorities. It is critical that as many House members as possible voice their support for an extension of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit in a tax extenders bill.

Supporters of a WOTC extension have just hours before today’s close of business to fax, call or otherwise contact their Republican Representatives to inform and exhort them on this topic.

I have put together a Microsoft Excel worksheet listing Republican members with their Washington, DC fax and phone numbers.  You are welcome to download it here.  (I assembled this contact information from data provided by Congress Merge at at www.congressmerge.com)

[Update 11:56 AM, In my own use of the fax numbers in the list I posted, I've found that a few numbers are non-operative.  If you need to, you can look up your Representatives' contact information right from Congress' website: www.house.gov/representatives ]

 

Paul Suplizio, President of the WOTC Coalition, suggests contacting every House Republican in districts where you do business. The following is published here with permission.

************

From: “Paul Suplizio” <wotc@cox.net>

January 27, 2014

Reminder:

Please contact every House Republican in districts where you have headquarters, branches, or operations with the following message by fax on your letterhead to their Washington office before close of business Wednesday:

(The Capitol operator will give you their fax number, call 202-224-3121.)

Here’s another model letter—you can use it verbatim or in your own words:

“Dear Congressman________________:

The House has made no decision on passing a tax extenders bill to renew tax code provisions that expired on December 31st. Most of these are provisions that businesses have relied on for years, such as the research and development tax credit and the work opportunity tax credit (WOTC) to hire unemployed veterans and get people off welfare and food stamps.

The tax extenders provide an estimated $70 billion a year in tax relief for that’s ploughed back by businesses into state and local economies, and will result in lost cash flow and jobs if they aren’t renewed.

Our company values tax policies like WOTC which expand job opportunities by working through the marketplace to create jobs via tax incentives for employers. WOTC accounts for nearly a million jobs a year targeted on those with the highest unemployment rates, and it has been shown to be the least costly of any Federal jobs program.

At your coming retreat, please raise the subject of the tax extenders and urge your leaders to give high priority to passage of a tax extenders bill including WOTC as soon as possible.

Sincerely, . . .”

 

Many thanks for your hard work in the campaign. We must argue forcefully for Congress to pass the tax extenders early and not put them off. The House might commit to doing a corporate tax reform bill and it will be tempting for the Leaders to put off the tax extenders till they see what comes of that. If corporate tax reform gets bogged down, Congress might not turn its attention to tax extenders again till after the election. That isn’t what we want so we’ll have to fight for passage of WOTC in Senate and House on every high-priority tax vehicle that comes up—a debt ceiling bill in February, a trade authority bill in March, a bill to raise the gasoline tax in May. Workforce Investment Act amendments may be on deck in June, and Welfare Reform needs to be re-authorized by September, so these are possible vehicles as well.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at 703-587-4566.

PAUL E. SUPLIZIO
President, WOTC Coalition

 

 

Tax Extenders ACT S 1859 Remains High Priority on Senate’s Agenda

Written by Vaughn Hromiko on January 2nd, 2014

Before the U.S. Senate’s Christmas recess, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid scheduled S 1859 tax extenders bill for a priority vote on January 6th. Since returning to Washington DC, however, the Tax Extenders Act of 2013 has been removed from the schedule.

We are waiting for news about when another Senate vote may be scheduled for the bill.  Paul Suplizio, President of the WOTC Coalition, observed yesterday afternoon:

This doesn’t change the focus of our campaign for WOTC renewal. All efforts should be directed to contacting both U.S. senators from your state, and states where you have operations, urging them to work for passage of S.1859, a bill to extend WOTC and other expiring provisions of the tax code through calendar year 2014.

 

 

California Franchise Tax Board Releases Updated Mapping tool for “New Employment Credit” Program

Written by Vaughn Hromiko on December 27th, 2013

From the Franchise Tax Board’s recent News Flash dated December 27, 2013.

The New Employment Credit begins January 1, 2014. One requirement for the credit is that a taxpayer be engaged in a trade or business within a designated geographic area (DGA). Use the DGA Mapping Tool to determine if a location is in a DGA. You can access the map from the New Employment Credit page.