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Bill offering tax credits for hiring unemployed workers advances

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Sen. President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) at a press conference on Nov. 6, 2013.
Sen. President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) at a press conference on Nov. 6, 2013. - ()

The Senate Labor Committee voted Monday in favor of releasing the “New Jobs for New Jersey Act,” a bill that would offer tax credit incentives to employers looking to hire unemployed workers.

Under the bill, sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) and state Sens. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) and Bob Gordon (D-Fair Lawn), employers with 100 or fewer full-time workers would become eligible for either a tax credit against the corporation business tax or gross income tax for each full-time worker they hire in 2014 that was not previously employed for at least 30 or more days prior to their hiring.

Gov. Chris Christie has vetoed similar legislation in the past. Sweeney announced last month that he would be introducing the bill on the heels of a January report indicating that the state lost over 36,000 private- and public-sector jobs in December.

“The ‘New Jobs for New Jersey Act’ is the perfect way to get people who’ve been unemployed the longest back into the workforce,” Sweeney said. “The governor’s veto of this bill last session was completely misguided. Given New Jersey’s economic condition, he can’t (possibly) think it’s reasonable to veto this bill again. We have to get people back to work.”

The committee also passed another bill of Sweeney’s aimed at tackling unemployment Monday, voting to release a measure that would provide priority at state-administered training programs to those who have experienced long-term unemployment. Under the bill, which is also sponsored by state Sen. Peter Barnes (D-Edison), a minimum of 50 percent of funding for unemployed worker training would be set aside for community college-based employment training programs.

“People who have been out of work for long periods are simply giving up,” Sweeney said. “That does not mean, however, that they and their families just find another way to provide for themselves. It’s not just about creating opportunities, but about finding jobs as soon as possible for those that have been unemployed the longest.”

The bills will now head to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.


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