Legislation gives incentives for hiring homeless

SALT LAKE CITY – New legislation could give businesses incentives for hiring the homeless, but one conservative political activist group says it’s unfair.

Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, says H.B.274 creates incentives for businesses and helps Utah’s homeless get back on their feet.

Under the bill, any business that hires a homeless person for more than 20 hours a week will get $500 from the government every six months, with a $5,000 cap for each business. King says the legislation is designed to help people who are recently homeless, not the  chronically homeless.

The bill passed in committee with an 8-5 vote, but the Utah Eagle Forum strongly opposes the legislation, saying it would be unfair to Utahns to are unemployed and need a job.

“I think it’s totally inappropriate, any time you give tax incentives to employ one person over another is just wrong. To say that we need to hire homeless people over the people are not homeless…they all need jobs,” said Gayle Ruzicka, Utah Eagle Forum.

“Any time you talk about tax policy in Utah providing tax credits it’s controversial. We’re in the business here making decisions about certain populations to help and whenever you talk about populations that you’re helping there are going to be other people who perceive they’re being hurt in some way,” King said.

The fiscal note for the bill is $500,000. It will come from money generated from the state income tax. King says the people hired because of the bill would be paying state income taxes, essentially evening everything out.

The bill will now go to the House floor for debate.

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