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Hecht proposes telework tax credit

March 14, 2002|BY LAURA ERNDE

A local lawmaker wants to give tax breaks to businesses that allow their employees to work from home.

Del. Sue Hecht, D-Frederick/Washington, is proposing a telework tax credit of up to $10,000 per business.

"This is good for traffic issues we all know are difficult in Maryland. It's good for our environment. It's good for families because they can choose to stay home and work," Hecht told the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday.

Hecht initially wanted to give tax breaks to employees as well as the employers who allow them to telework.

But analysts said that would cost the state up to $12.5 million so Hecht revised her proposal.

For each employee that teleworks, the company could claim a $500 tax credit. The credit would be capped at $10,000 per business and $250,000 statewide.

"We've made it affordable," she said.

Having employees work from home helps businesses maintain continuity in the event of catastrophes such as the terrorist attacks, she said.

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Jennifer Boothe of Frederick, Md., testified that she worked from home two days a week after her son Trey was born two years ago.

"I had a lot of concerns about returning to work. It was a great comfort going back to work knowing that I could telework," she said.

An engineer for Verizon in Baltimore, Boothe now works from home one day a week, on Fridays.

Representatives from the Maryland Telework Association and the Telework Coalition of Maryland also testified for the bill.

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