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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

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

Henricus Historical Park to host Publick Day Sept. 20

Henricus Historical Park will commemorate its anniversary during Publick Day, a signature annual event that celebrates the establishment of the second successful English settlement in the New World. In September 1611, Sir Thomas Dale, along with soldiers, tradesmen and farmers, ventured from Jamestown to create the Citie of Henricus. Leaders of Henricus developed the first English hospital, chartered the first college in North America, established tobacco as the first cash crop in Virginia, and created a place where Pocahontas lived and met John Rolfe.

Publick Day will take place Saturday, Sept. 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and parking is $5 per vehicle. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Extras sought for AMC’s ‘TURN’

Paid extras are being sought to appear in the AMC television series TURN: Washington's Spies, which will begin filming its second season in the Richmond area at the end of September and continue through February.

No experience is required, but producers say that extras must have flexible availability, reliable transportation and a positive attitude.

Arvold Casting is holding an open call on Sunday, Sept. 21 and is seeking men, women and children who are Caucasian, African American and Native American, with thin to average builds and who can realistically portray people living in Revolutionary War times. Long hair is a plus but not a must. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


For our Top 10 calendar events this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


Check out these three B’s in Henrico this weekend: books, bluegrass and “Born Yesterday.” Other activities to participate in – and feel good about – are the 15th annual James River Regional Cleanup and the 5th annual Richmond Out of the Darkness Community Walk. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

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Southern Season, 2250 Staples Mill Rd., will continue its Kid Chef Series at 2 p.m. Families with children ages 6-9 will make a Disney-themed meal. The menu includes Peter Pan’s… Full text

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