Tax Credit Bill Introduced for Small Businesses that Make Up Pay for Active Military Reservists

Original Article: MLive.com

LANSING, MI — U.S. Sen. Gary Peters introduced a bill on Wednesday that would give tax credits to small businesses that make up the difference in pay for employees who are active duty members of the National Guard.

The credits would be given to small businesses with less than 50 employees who make up the difference in pay for active reservists who make less in the military then they do at their regular job.

“When they are called up to the military service…[reservists are] also making a financial sacrifice as well,” said Peters, a Metro Detroit Democrat who served as a Navy reservist for 15 years.

Peters said the change in pay could have help them figure out how to pay bills back home.

“That’s the last thing we need people thinking about when they are called up to duty,” Peters said. “They need to have some security that their life will continue.”

Peters introduced the bill, called the “Military Reserve Small Business Jobs Act of 2015,” with fellow first-term Sen. Joni Ernst, a Republican from Iowa who is also a lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard.

If passed, the law would give a tax credit for 20 percent of the differential salary payments small businesses make.

Peters’ office provided an example of how it could work: an employee makes $3,000 a month but makes $2,000 a month while serving in the National Guard. The employer makes up the $1,000 a month difference and is able to receive a $200 tax credit.

According to Peters’ office, the federal government paid out an estimated $1 million for the tax credit, meaning small businesses paid $5 million in additional salaries.

If passed, the credits would last for five years. Peters said he hopes this will encourage more small businesses to take advantage of the program and offer differential pay. The tax credits could cost between $1 to $2 million a year, he said.

There are 15,438 reservists and National Guard members from Michigan, out of 824,000 in the whole United States.

Credits for small businesses were first enacted in 2008 and Peters introduced similar legislation in 2014, but those credits expired the same year, Peters said.

This is the second bill Peters has introduced as a U.S. Senator. His first bill, introduced last week, would encourage government agencies to use remanufactured automotive parts for repairs. The bill was introduced with Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma.

That measure passed the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

Peters was elected to his first term in the U.S. Senate in November, replacing long-time Sen. Carl Levin. He beat out former GOP Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land with 54 percent of the vote.

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