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Sweeney Wants to Use Tax Credits to Promote Employment of the Developmental Disabled

Trenton – Tax credits would spur the employment of those with developmental disabilities, giving them the opportunity to gain the skills and experience to become the model employees they are capable of, according to Senate President Steve Sweeney, who introduced legislation that would allow for the incentives.

The bill would allow individuals and businesses a 10 percent tax credit for employing persons with a developmental disability.

“This can open the doors of opportunity for those with disabilities, giving them the ability to gain the skills and experience to do the work they are fully capable of,” said Senator Sweeney. “It can be the first step towards gainful employment where they will become valued workers. When given the opportunity, they prove to be model employees.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, almost 20 percent of the U.S. population is considered disabled, but only 20 percent of disabled persons are participating in the workforce.

The legislation would allow taxpayers to claim a credit against their corporation business tax liability or gross income tax liability of 10 percent of the salary and wages paid to an employee with a developmental disability. The credit can be claimed annually for the same employee. It would be capped at $3,000 per worker, and the total credit would be capped at $60,000 per taxpayer, per year.

The bill defines “employee with a developmental disability” as defined in state law and for whom the Division of Developmental Disabilities has declared eligible for its services.

New Jersey already allows taxpayers to claim a credit for the employment of certain persons with disabilities at an occupational training center or sheltered workshop. The bill allows a credit for any type of employment.

“It is well-known that workers with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are hardworking individuals, who consistently have a positive impact on all employees within a company,” said Christina M. Renna, President and CEO, Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey. “Employers of all sizes and industry types are more than willing to hire individuals with disabilities, but have some uncertainties around the costs associated with training needs and other necessary accommodations. This legislation would help employers offset these costs further incentivizing the business community to hire from within the IDD community of skilled workers.”

“NJBIA strongly supports this legislation providing tax credits to businesses which hire individuals with developmental disabilities, and we thank Senate President Sweeney for his sponsorship of the bill,” said Michele Siekerka, President and CEO, New Jersey Business & Industry Association. “Many businesses have hired individuals with disabilities because of the great value they bring to their workforce. But certainly, more can be – and should be – done to enhance these opportunities. New Jersey needs to capitalize on the momentum in this space and we believe the use of tax credits to those who employ those in the IDD community will help continue this forward motion.”