(March 11) – A bill addressing two top Colorado priorities — helping businesses hire more Coloradans and helping college grads reduce their student debt — passed its first committee today. The House Finance Committee’s vote was 9-2.

HB15-1227, sponsored by Rep. KC Becker, D-Boulder, creates an income tax credit for employers doing business in Colorado who hire recent Colorado graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines and assist them in repaying their student loans.

“Students will have more incentive to go into the STEM fields in Colorado, where their skills are in high demand,” Rep. Becker said. “And we’ll make it easier for employers to attract new workers by easing the debt burden that most recent graduates face as they launch their careers.”

The bill is a component of Colorado Ready to Work, a bipartisan legislative package to strengthen and expand Colorado’s middle class by attacking stubborn residual unemployment and connecting more Coloradans to better jobs in the state’s fast-growing high-tech economy.

Under 1227, employers would qualify for a credit of 50 percent of the amount paid on an employee’s student loan, up to $5,000. The credit would apply for employees making up to $60,000.

The employee must have earned a degree from a Colorado institution in a STEM field or a vocational certificate related to industry, manufacturing or information technology. The credit is available for tax years 2016 through 2019 and is capped at $2 million per tax year and $6 million overall.

The bill now goes to the Appropriations Committee

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