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Proposed tax credit could make San Diego safer

Posted: 5:44 PM, Feb 26, 2016
Updated: 2016-02-27 02:20:54Z

A new tax credit may be on the way for San Diego employers creating new jobs that could make neighborhoods safer.

Not too long ago, Alan Moreno's life was very different. He was in jail for a felony conviction.

"It's not a good place to be; you come out with a lot of bills to pay," he said.

When it comes to paying those bills, Moreno said he can't get beyond a job interview.

"They just tell me that, 'we don't accept felonies,'" he said.

Moreno, who is 23, spends his days working toward a high school diploma at Urban Core San Diego and getting new skills like helping recycle TVs and toasters. Those skills could lead to a new job and a new tax credit for a new boss.

It's the goal of a new bill by state Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, which would offer California employers a tax credit for hiring ex-offenders between ages 18 and 25.

"We want them to improve themselves and be part of the American dream just like everyone else, and I think they need this extra added incentive to get there," Hueso said. "Without it, they'll continue to fail."

The bill would give employers a 20 percent break on wages paid to ex-convicts that is above $15 an hour.

Each employer could qualify for up to $15,000 in credits per employee.

In San Diego County, two-thirds of ex-convicts are re-arrested within three years.

Moreno said without a job, he can see why.

"You get the temptation to earn easy money. You're around drugs, you're around burglars, fights," he said.

But with each crate of electronics he moves, Moreno gets closer to building a better future.