OUR OPINION: Employment initiative worth further exploration

The bill Rep. William Tracy Arnold, R-Booneville, plans to introduce would give employers a $2,500 tax credit for one year if they hire non-violent felons who have completed their sentences. That non-violent detail is an important part of this proposal that should hopefully bring a sense of ease to those weary of considering an effort to promote the hiring of convicted criminals.

As a minister, Arnold says he’s seen firsthand the hardships that these residents go through in trying to find a job with the stigma of being a felon attached to their applications. He’s also seen that result in residents returning to a life of crime, which is what he ultimately hopes to prevent.

“This will give people a second chance to be productive citizens,” Arnold said.

Arnold believes the tax credit will actually save the state money because it costs the state about $30,000 per year to incarcerate a person convicted of a felony, as reported by the Daily Journal’s Bobby Harrison. A tax credit is the amount of money a person is able to subtract from taxes owed the government.

Arnold said he has filed similar legislation in the past, but it has died in committee.

A bill did pass the Legislature in the 2015 session providing a tax credit for employers who hire military veterans.

Bobby Harrison
Daily Journal