WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Darin LaHood published an op-ed with Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) this week in The Hill encouraging Congress to pass their bipartisan Clean Start: Back to Work tax credit legislation that will help keep businesses, workers, and customers safe as states reopen. You can learn more about the bill at https://lahood.house.gov/BackToWork.
Originally Published by The Hill: Encouraging a safe business environment can help drive America's recovery By: U.S Representatives Darin LaHood (R-IL) and Stephanie Murphy (D-FL)
As businesses prepare to reopen across the country, protecting the health of American workers and customers is of paramount importance. Congress has already enacted four bipartisan bills to combat COVID-19 and to help our fellow citizens weather the economic and employment disruption this public health crisis has spawned. Nevertheless, more bipartisan congressional action is necessary in order to ensure that our communities and our constituents are safe.
As stay-at-home restrictions are eased or lifted, Congress should focus on creating an environment that enables businesses to reopen and sustain their operations in a safe manner.
According to health experts, COVID-19 can survive on surfaces for days if those surfaces are not adequately disinfected. In their published guidance, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emphasize that “reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by cleaning and disinfection is an important part of reopening public spaces that will require careful planning.” Having listened to business owners in our districts, we are confident they are willing—and indeed eager—to take unprecedented measures to reopen safely. But many of them lack the money, expertise, cleaning products, or trained personnel to disinfect for COVID-19 properly.
That’s why we’ve introduced the “Clean Start: Back to Work” tax credit legislation. Our bill will help companies ensure their workspaces are appropriately cleaned and disinfected as states lift stay-at-home orders. The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association estimates that cleaning costs associated with COVID-19 will be at least 50 percent higher than they were prior to the pandemic. This figure could be even higher for certain businesses with a greater risk of exposure or a higher percentage of at-risk individuals.
Given the financial hardship many businesses are currently facing, we’ve proposed to offer them a temporary tax credit through March 2021 to help offset the increased costs of cleaning and disinfecting their workspaces. Qualified expenses under our legislation include training existing staff or hiring certified personnel, buying cleaning products, and furnishing employees with personal protective equipment.
The last thing we want is for businesses to reopen only to have to shut down again because of an outbreak of COVID-19 cases within their operation. That’s why we’ve come together to introduce this bipartisan legislation to help businesses devastated by COVID-19 safely reopen.
All of us, regardless of party, want our lives to return to normal. We want American businesses to open, American workers to get back on the job, and the American economy to thrive. To ensure that the re-opening our country is safe and sustainable, Congress should pass our bipartisan bill.