(The Center Square) – Employers in Tacoma will qualify for $1,000 in tax credits if they hire people with disabilities starting in 2024.

According to the newly passed ordinance, approximately 24,000 people in Tacoma live with a physical or mental disability.

The Tacoma Work Opportunity tax credit aims to assist with incentivizing the private sector to ensure inclusion of people with disabilities in the workforce. This credit could also reduce poverty in the disability community, and ensure successful transitions into the workforce for students with disabilities.

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The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services’ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation indicates that between 15 to 30 new positions in Tacoma will be created and filled with people with disabilities each year. This would result in somewhere between $15,000 to $30,000 of tax credits available to businesses to use toward their business and occupation tax liability in 2024.

In order for an employer in Tacoma to qualify for the new tax credit, the employee must be a new hire. A current employee who becomes disabled does not qualify. Other qualifying factors include the employer creating a new permanent position, paying the employee minimum wage, and the employee being employed either full- or part-time.

“Our disabled community can face considerable barriers to finding employment, leaving many without opportunities to live independently and enhance their quality of life,” Tacoma City Councilmember Keith Blocker said in a statement. “I led the effort to create the Tacoma Work Opportunity tax credit to ensure that we are taking steps to help individuals with disabilities find employment and achieve economic self-sufficiency.”

According to the ordinance, poverty rates amongst people with disabilities are generally twice as high as rates for those without a disability.

The city council unanimously approved of the tax credit on Tuesday. Tacoma City Councilmember Joe Bushnell said the tax credit sends a message to local businesses that people with disabilities can contribute to the vibrancy of the city workforce.

“With this tax credit in place, we are creating new opportunities for those who have been historically excluded from the workforce and supporting greater workforce inclusion for veterans with disabilities," he said.

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Gallery Credit: Reesha Cosby

 

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