A bill that would provide tax credits to help businesses reopen safely during the COVID pandemic was introduced in the House this week.

The Healthy Workplace Tax Credit bill would provide a refundable tax credit for 50 percent of the costs incurred by the business for COVID-19 testing, personal protection equipment (PPE), disinfecting, extra cleaning, and reconfiguring workspaces. It is limited to $1,000 per employee for a business’s first 500 employees, $750 per employee for the next 500 employees, $500 per employee for 1,000-2,500 employees, $250 for 2,500-5,000 employees, and $50 for each employee thereafter.

The bill is designed to help businesses reopen safely and responsibly to protect the health and well-being of workers and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and state-mandated closures continue to hurt workers and small businesses throughout Illinois. I hear from small business owners and workers regularly who are prepared to take unprecedented steps to reopen,” Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL), one of the bill?s sponsors, said. “Getting people back to work is essential to reinvigorating our economy. This bipartisan legislation will support businesses as they reopen and ensure the health and safety of their employees and the communities they serve.”

It was also sponsored by Reps. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Tom Rice (R-SC), and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA). 

“I’m proud to co-lead this bipartisan bill that will help businesses reopen and remain open in a way that protects their workers and their customers,” Murphy said. “Businesses want to do the right thing when it comes to making their workplaces safe and sanitary, and this bill will ensure they have the resources to do it.’

The bipartisan bill is endorsed by the American Action Forum, Americans for Tax Reform, International Sanitary Supply Association, Job Creators Network, National Association of Manufacturers, National Grocers Association, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation, and the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

“The coronavirus pandemic continues to impact every American. As we navigate a safe reopening, business owners are taking unprecedented measures to protect their employees and patrons. Keeping Americans safe while getting back to work is a top priority. It’s important we reconnect workers to jobs and prevent more business closures,” Rice said. “Our healthy workplace tax credit will support businesses as they reopen by incentivizing them to take extra precautions to protect the health of patrons and employees.”

In the last Congress, LaHood introduced the Clean Start Back to Work Act, which would offer businesses a temporary tax credit to help offset the increased costs of cleaning and disinfecting their workspaces.

“Throughout the pandemic, many small businesses on the central coast of California are making major investments to keep their customers and employees safe. By spending money so that their businesses stay safe, open, and within the public health guidelines, the owners’ profit margins are even thinner during this time of economic difficulty,” Panetta said.

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