Businesses can receive a $5,000 tax credit for each out-of-work Marylander hired this year, under a plan nearing final approval in the Maryland General Assembly.
Gov. Martin O'Malley pushed the tax credit as a way to stimulate hiring at a time when the state faces a 7.5 percent unemployment rate -- the worst in a quarter century. Lawmakers increased the credit from the $3,000 O'Malley proposed.
The House of Delegates on Wednesday approved the Senate's legislation, but the two chambers must agree upon slight changes added by the House.
To protect against abuse, the measure requires that, to receive the credit, employers fill a new position or one that has been vacant for at least six months. The employees hired must be either collecting unemployment or within a year of the expiration of those benefits. No employer may receive more than $250,000 in tax credits for new hires, and the entire program is limited to $20 million.
The credit was passed as emergency legislation, meaning it will take effect as soon as the Democratic governor signs it into law.