Henrico County VA
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Panel nixes tax credits for hiring Virginia graduates

Students receiving degrees from Virginia’s public colleges and universities may struggle to find employment, after a House subcommittee killed legislation that would have given small businesses a $2,500 tax credit for hiring such graduates.

House Bill 1303 was introduced by Delegate Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, who proposed an incentive system for small businesses that hired people holding an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from a public institution of higher education in Virginia. In her eyes, small businesses are the cornerstone for moving graduates from the classroom to the real world.

“Small businesses account for more than 47 percent of employment to recent graduates, and it’s very important to provide tax incentives to encourage the hiring of our recent Virginia graduates,” Herring said.

“About 53.6 percent of recent higher education graduates have been unable to find a job, and that’s really what motivated me to pursue a way to give our students an opportunity to succeed after their education is complete.”

HB 1303 would have helped small businesses that hire Virginia public college graduates to fill new full-time jobs after Jan. 1 of this year. Those businesses would have received a $2,500 corporate income tax credit for each new full-time position. Businesses could have claimed the credit after the graduate had been employed for at least
a year. Virginia college students supported the measure.

“I believe the tax credit ensures a move in a more positive direction and will encourage small businesses to hire recent graduates and help minimize the unemployment rates we’re seeing right now,” said Alex Henery, a student representative from Radford University.

“If businesses are given a deductible to hire these graduates, then they may be more inclined to take a chance on those whose experience stems predominantly from the classroom.”

The bill set a cap of $2 million for the tax credits. The tax credit program would have automatically expired in 2015.

HB 1303 did not cover private colleges and universities in Virginia. That is the main reason why House Finance subcommittee No. 3 decided to table the bill.

Herring argued that the financial ceiling set in the bill did not make it realistic to provide tax credits for hiring graduates from private institutions.

“I thought there was a more natural nexus for public universities, and with the money accessible, it’s not an effective tool in encouraging small businesses to hire all students who graduate from a college or university in Virginia,” she said.

Delegate Joseph Johnson, D-Abingdon, was intrigued by the bill. He noted that some parents are suing colleges and universities because their children could not find employment upon graduation.

For example, Trina Thompson, a 27-year -old New York graduate, and her parents are suing Monroe College in the Bronx for the $70,000 she spent on tuition because she has been unable to find a full-time job.

“There have been numerous class-action lawsuits brought on by parents whose kids have been unable to find jobs after school,” Johnson said. “Students majoring in visual arts, history, performing arts and English, to name a few, are finding it extremely difficult to find jobs. It’s becoming a new trend here in the commonwealth and throughout the nation.”

On a voice vote of 5-0 on Friday, the subcommittee tabled HB 1303, suggesting it be revised to provide tax credits for hiring graduates from private as well as public colleges.


Community

Garden tails

The threat of bad weather didn’t keep visitors away from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden July 10 for the facility’s weekly Flowers After 5 event (which pairs music and food with a chance to stroll the garden) and its monthly Fidos After 5 (which allows dog owners to bring their pets with them to enjoy the evening). > Read more.

Western Henrico Rotary helps fund Midwives For Haiti Jeep


Thanks in part to a $10,000 gift from the Western Henrico Rotary Club, another bright pink Jeep modified to travel extremely rough terrain has been delivered to Midwives For Haiti so that more pregnant women in the quake-ravaged country will have access to prenatal care and a greater chance of surviving childbirth.

The funds were raised at the annual casino night held in February, club president Adam Cherry said. The Rotary Club also helped purchase the Virginia-based charity’s first pink jeep three years ago. > Read more.

Agencies combine on new entry point to Chickahominy


Canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts soon will have a new access point to the Chickahominy River. VDOT, the James River Association and Henrico County Parks and Recreation are teaming up to establish a new site in Eastern Henrico.

The James River Association negotiated the deal with VDOT to procure official access to the area located just east of I-295 on North Airport Road in Sandston. The site includes a park-and-ride commuter lot bordering the Chickahominy River and has been an unofficial launch site used by paddlers for years. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


An eclectic array of events are taking place this weekend throughout the county. In the West End, we have the Richmond Wedding Expo, the Under the Stars Family Film Series and Henrico Theatre Company’s production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes.” In the eastern part of the county, we have a blood drive at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, Gallmeyer Farm’s annual Sweet Corn Festival and an origami workshop at Fairfield Library. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

New Italian restaurant opens in Short Pump

Charlottesville's Bella’s Restaurant recently opened a location in Short Pump Village, at 11408 West Broad Street. The restaurant is owned by Valeria Biesnti, a native of Rome who arrived in the U.S. at age 21 and later became a U.S. citizen. With her restaurants, Bisenti has sought to create an ambiance that welcomes diners in a casual setting, like her favorites from her hometown. > Read more.

Henrico native to appear on Travel Channel show


A Henrico native will appear on the third episode of the Travel Channel's new grilling competition series “American Grilled.”

The episode, filmed in Charlottesville, will premier July 16 at 9 p.m. and feature Glen Allen-native Rex Holmes, a patent lawyer who operates http://SavoryReviews.com a blo,g centered around tasty recipes and BBQ.

The show features hardcore grilling enthusiasts from across the country going head-to-head for a chance to compete for a $10,000 cash prize and bragging rights when they are crowned the ultimate “grill master.” > Read more.

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