13 Feb 2015

A Montana legislator wants to provide employers with tax credits if they help pay down their employees’ student loans.

A Winnett legislator wants to provide employers with tax credits if they help pay down their employees’ student loans.
“Accumulated student debt has become a huge obstacle for young Montanans attempting to prepare themselves to enter the job market,” Republican Rep. Bill Harris told the House Taxation Committee on Wednesday.
“With this burden, young graduates find themselves facing a tough economy, a sluggish job market and a disconnect between finding a career and employment reaching out to them.”
Harris' House Bill 341 would give employers a tax credit of up to $450 per employee annually for up to three years against their individual income or corporate income tax each year.
Employers would be eligible for the tax credit of $450 if they made a direct payment of $1,800 a year to reduce an employee’s student loan debt by that amount. A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of taxes.
Harris said young Montanans want to work, and own cars and homes. Many want to get married and start families and are anxious to be part of their communities.
“They want to apply the skills they have worked so hard to acquire,” he said. “There is no handout here, only increased opportunity for the very deserving — our youth.”
The bill, which would sunset at the end of 2022, would cost the state treasury about $715,000 a year, the governor’s budget office estimated.
Harris disputed the fiscal note, saying: “I contend that by reducing their debt load, young Montanans wanting to work will expand their economy with great vigor and enthusiasm.”
Sheena Rice of the Montana Organizing Project said the average student debt for a Montana college graduate in 2012 is $27,475.
She said 64 percent of Montana college graduates left school with student debt.
Rice called HB341 “a genuinely good solution.”


Read more: http://billingsgazette.com/news/government-and-politics/employers-would-get-tax-break-for-helping-pay-down-employees/article_3ae16c2b-f668-5b57-a665-daf6f5637bda.html

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