State Rep. Robb Greene, R-Shelbyville, drafted a bill to establish a tax credit for businesses that hire people with disabilities.
Greene, who represents parts of Shelby and Johnson counties, said House Bill 1559 is aimed to help Hoosiers with disabilities, who face great to finding meaningful employment. Another local state legislator, Rep. Peggy Mayfield, R-Martinsville, along with two others have signed on as co-authors to the bill.
U.S. Department of Labor statistics show the unemployment rate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is an estimated 80%. In contrast, Indiana’s overall unemployment rate stands at just 3.1%. Greene said, if passed, this bill will help more people with disabilities find employment.
“Hoosiers with disabilities offer valuable skills and talents,” Greene said in a statement released by his office. “Unfortunately, they’re often overlooked despite their capabilities and talents. This bill could help encourage employers to diversify their workplace and hire individuals who want more than anything to have the opportunity to join the workforce.”
If the bill passes as written, the tax credit could be claimed starting in 2024 and would reduce income to the state starting fiscal year 2025. The bill could result in a state revenue loss of $94 to $307 million if all current employees with disabilities are claimed as an exemption under the credit, according to the latest fiscal impact statement on the bill.
The credit could be claimed for three years and the amount that can be claimed would vary with the size of the business, the fiscal impact statement shows.
The Arc of Indiana announced support for Greene’s legislation. The Arc is an organization that works to create employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
“According to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Indiana closed out 2022 with more than 130,000 job openings,” Hannah Carlock, senior director of public affairs for The Arc of Indiana, said in a statement. “There is an untapped pool of potential employees who are consistently overlooked because they have a disability. Rep. Greene’s bill will hopefully encourage employers to hire Hoosiers with disabilities and move Indiana from a ‘State that Works’ to a ‘State that Works for All.’”
Greene, whose son is on the austim spectrum, has said one of his goals is to fight for people with disabilities at the Statehouse.
“This is a deeply personal issue for me,” Greene said in a statement. “For every special needs parent, the question of ‘what happens to my child once I’m gone?’ weighs on their mind. If passed, it’s my hope this bill will help lessen that weight, and give their child the dignity and independence that comes from meaningful work.”
Greene said he encourages constituents who have thoughts on this issue or others before the legislature to contact him at 317-234-9028 or via email at [email protected]