By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
The Texas House Business and Industry Committee met for a hearing at South Padre Island City Hall Monday to discuss a state tax incentive aimed at encouraging employers to hire people on public assistance.
The committee, which normally meets in Austin, came to the Rio Grande Valley at the suggestion of State Rep. René Oliveira (D-Brownsville), who serves as the committee’s chair.
“We want to educate employers that there already is a federal tax credit and that we have a tax refund in place, even though it’s not as effective as it should be,” Oliveira said after the session.
The federal tax credit and state refund Oliveira was referring to are incentives aimed at motivating employers throughout the state to hire people who are sometimes stigmatized because they receive public assistance funds, are long term unemployed, or are veterans, among other factors.
The committee heard testimony from several industry experts, including Evan Migdail of DLA Piper LLC. in Washington, D.C. as well as representatives from the Texas Workforce Commission, the credit bureau Equifax, and the human resources and payroll management company, ADP.
Migdail introduced himself by explaining to the members his work on the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) in the mid 1990s under the Clinton administration. According to the WOTC website, the program encourages employers to hire “individuals from certain target groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment,” including unemployed veterans, those receiving supplemental security income, food stamps, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), among others.
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