June 04,2003

Baucus Introduces the Encouraging Work Act of 2003

Senator Working to Increase Job Opportunities in Montana and Across the Country

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) U.S. Senators Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) combined forcestoday to introduce bipartisan legislation that will permanently extend and improve upon the Work Opportunity TaxCredit (WTOC) and the Welfare-to-Work (W-t-W) tax credit. These two tax credits will expire on December 31, 2003.

Over the past seven years, these two tax credits have played an integral role in assisting over 2.2 millionindividuals dependent on public assistance enter the workforce. These hiring tax incentives help level the job selectionplaying field by providing employers with additional resources to help recruit, select, train and retain people facingsignificant barriers to find stable employment.

“The statistics about the number of people who have been able to join the workforce because of the WorkOpportunity Tax Credit and Welfare-to-Work tax credit speak volumes about the success of these programs,” Baucussaid. “Passing the Encouraging Work Act of 2003 will be crucial if we're to continue this success. Given the currentshape of the economy, it's more important than ever to help people move into the workforce. I'm pleased tobe working together with Senator Santorum to help provide more job opportunities for people across thecountry."

“The Encouraging Work Act of 2003 continues to open the door of opportunity for millions of Americans bycontinuing to expand on our efforts with Welfare Reform and the assistance to employers found in the WTOC and W-t-W by combining the programs into one administered tax credit,” said Santorum. “This permanent tax credit will allowemployers to spend less time on the administration of tax credits and more time providing job mentors, lengtheningtraining periods and spending more time on recruit ing and outreach for their employees.”The Encouraging Work Act of 2003 will:

·  make the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and Welfare to Work tax credit permanent, which willencourage more employers to participate;·  combine the two credit programs, which will reduce administrative burden and complexity, and·  improve the effectiveness of the program by, for example, extending opportunities to at-risk men andfathers of children on welfare.

Baucus today also highlighted the success that his state of Montana has seen due to the WOTCand W-t-W programs.

“In my home state of Montana, both large multinational firms and smaller family-owned businesses havegained new employees through these programs and more than 1,000 Montanans were eligible to take advantage ofthe WOTC program in the past 18 months,” Baucus said. “Recipients of food stamps, TANF relief, and U.S.veterans in my state and all over the nation have been able to leave welfare roles because of new opportunitiescreated by the WOTC and W-t-W programs. I look forward to passing this bill and permanently extendingthese credits."

During this year’s debate on the Jobs and Growth Tax Reconciliation Act, Senator Baucus voted to extend theWOTC and W-t-W tax credits as part of the bill. The provisions were not included in the final conference agreement.