(TRENTON) – The Assembly Budget Committee on Wednesday approved a bill sponsored by Assembly members Craig J. Coughlin, Pamela R. Lampitt, Cleopatra Tucker and Caridad Rodriguez to help college students find gainful employment by providing Corporate Business and Gross Income Tax credits to employers who hire post-secondary students for internships.
The bill (A-3418), approved by a vote of 8-0-4, is part of the Democratic legislative “Back to Work NJ” effort to create jobs and economic development.
“Presently, the unemployment rate for young people between the ages of 18 and 25 is over 25 percent,” said Coughlin (D-Woodbridge). “This bill is designed to encourage businesses to hire post-secondary students to learn firsthand about their chosen field of study and help them get their foot in the door to eventually secure full-time employment.”
“No single piece of legislation will pull us out of this sluggish economy, but a measure like this will certainly help.” said Lampitt (D-Voorhees), Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee. “It is our obligation to provide New Jersey’s students with the best possible educational experience and internships are one of the best ways to prepare our young people for the workforce and beyond.”
Under the bill, corporation business tax credits and gross income tax credits would be granted to qualified enterprises for wages paid to qualified interns for the 2012 and 2013 tax years. A qualified intern would be any individual enrolled and in good standing at a New Jersey four-year institution of higher education, a New Jersey county college, or a New Jersey accredited post-secondary business, technical, trade or vocational school.
“Creating jobs, no matter how many, must be our number one priority,” said Tucker (D-Essex). “In a market as tight as this one, young people need every advantage possible to help break into their chosen field.”
The credits are allowed in amounts equal to 40 percent of compensation paid to qualified interns or $600 of that compensation, whichever is less. Additional credits would be given to employers hiring three or more qualified interns.
“In this economy, businesses have the luxury of hiring more experienced employees who will work for less money because they are desperate for a job,” said Rodriguez (D-Hudson). “This measure provides businesses with an incentive to hire young people so they can help pay for their education among other living expenses.”
The program will be limited to the first 5,250 qualified interns or 700 taxpayers. Employers will be required to pay interns no less than $8.00 per hour for a term of employment that lasted at least 12 weeks and included a minimum of 14 hours of service per week. All employers must certify that interns are working in New Jersey.
This program would be administered through the Division of Taxation and a report will conclude the effectiveness of the program following its termination. This bill is modeled after the recently enacted Philadelphia Internship Tax Credit program.