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Senator Steinberg Planning Business Incentive Bill

The Sacramento Bee reports that Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg told the Community College League of California this week that he wants to propose legislation to create a new incentive for businesses that invest in education:

Specifics have not been crafted, but conceptually here’s how Steinberg’s proposal would work: Businesses that agree to serve as partners in and invest money for a high school or community college career program would receive reimbursement from the state, plus interest at higher than market rates.

Participating businesses would help develop the curriculum for career pathway programs, and would provide internships or mentorships that lead to high-wage jobs for participating students, Steinberg said.

The financial incentive to businesses could come from direct investment or through tax credits, he said.

“There may be a number of different ways to do this,” Steinberg said, but the state should “make it a priority to use both our expenditure ability and our tax credit authority to invest in human beings and prepare them for great jobs and a great life.”

In 2010 Steinberg proposed similar legislation, SB 974, and to pay for the new credit, the bill proposed some draconian changes to the Enterprise Zone program:

This bill would, for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2011, revise the definition of “qualified employee” for this purpose, by providing that an ex-offender includes an individual who has been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor offense punishable by incarceration, or a person charged with a felony or misdemeanor punishable by incarceration but placed on probation without a finding of guilt, with specified exclusions. This bill would also, for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2011, revise the definition of “qualified employee” by removing, as an element of eligibility as a qualified employee, residency in a targeted employment or targeted tax area. Additionally, this bill would require taxpayers to apply for, and obtain, the certification of a qualified employee within 42 days of the date of hire of the qualified employee.

Given some of the Senator’s recent statements, there is a good possibility that the new bill may look a lot like the old bill.

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