The New York state budget includes a new tax incentive program for businesses that hire people in recovery from substance abuse disorders. The enabling legislation was introduced by North Country Assemblyman D. Billy Jones. He was at the business that motivated his measure on Wednesday as it submitted paperwork to qualify for the program.
The Recovery Tax Credit program will provide employers a maximum tax credit of $2,000 for each eligible person in recovery that they hire. Democrat D. Billy Jones of the 115th district says he introduced the measure after meeting with the owner of Northeast Group to discuss the idea. “This will help businesses but also help people in recovery because if they take that chance on people in recovery people will be gainfully employed and when you have gainful employment in recovery it provides stability to people in recovery and it just makes for a better recovery process. And we’ve seen that over and over again. I expect employers to take advantage of this and I think it will encourage more programs to help people in recovery.”
Standing in front of the Northeast Group building, Jones said that the tax credit should offset some of the costs that may be incurred when hiring people in recovery. “People in recovery you know there are some things that businesses have to do. While people are in recovery they might have to go to counseling sessions or other appointments. And these businesses do invest in these people and we wanted just a little bit of help for them to do this. And we know that in the recovery process having a stable job, having employment, is so important.”
Northeast Group President and CEO Michael Carpenter says businesses often won’t take chances so they wanted to find an incentive to get people who are in recovery employed. "I’m incredibly happy that this idea was put out there because the biggest, one of the biggest impediments to people finding recovery is not having a place to work. They need that purpose and that sense of I have a place that I belong. So I think it’s important that this bill was passed and I hope they continue to do it every year.”
Carpenter has for years hired people in recovery. He says of the 50 full time employees at the Northeast Group about a third are in recovery and another third have family or friends struggling with addiction. “Everybody that we hire whether they’re in recovery or not we talk to them about the philosophy that we have which is we’re the place that we give people second and third and fourth chances and they really have to be able to embrace that if they want to work here. So we’re committed to that. And I have people in management positions and myself included obviously that are in recovery and they’ve become fabulous employees.”
Carpenter sat down with one of his employees to sign the documents allowing them to participate in the Recovery Tax Credit program. “You’re signing right there young Brandon.”
Assemblyman Jones: “Actually Brandon is the first one to sign up for this, the first one to sign here and it’s great to have him. And we want to have people take a chance on these individuals that are struggling a bit in their lives. And it’s an important program and I hope people take advantage of it.”
SPARCC — Substance Abuse Prevention and Recovery of Clinton County – member and United Way CEO John Bernardi hopes the program also helps de-stigmatize addiction and recovery. “We want people who need help to come forward and ask for help and do so in a way that they can be proud of. We want our wonderful community to embrace that opportunity and never to stigmatize people for needing help or asking for help. And this is an example of our anti-stigma efforts across the region. So sort of a hidden benefit.”
The Recovery Tax Credit program is administered through the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. The 2020 funding totals $2 million statewide.