Hoping to incentivize employers to hire Pennsylvania National Guard members, state Sen. Tracy Pennycuick (R-Montgomery/Berks) introduced a bill to provide a $1,000 tax credit to employers who hire them.

“The Pennsylvania National Guard is recognized as one of the finest National Guards in the nation, and it’s largely made up of part-time members who work full-time jobs,” said Pennycuick, a U.S. Army combat veteran. “Giving employers an incentive to hire Guard members boosts access to workers with unique skill sets and makes serving in the Guard more attractive to Pennsylvanians.”

Recruitment and retention numbers for the Guard have dipped in previous years, presenting a manpower challenge as the Guard works to remain mission-ready for its dual state and federal responsibilities. Since most Guardsmen serve “part-time,” a key consideration for these dedicated and skilled individuals is obtaining full-time employment while they serve.

There are more than 700,000 veterans and approximately 18,000 members of the Pennsylvania National Guard in the Keystone State. National Guard members are “citizen soldiers” often called up in emergencies in their home states. They usually drill once a month and undergo training for two weeks yearly.

The governor or the president can call upon the National Guard to help with various situations.

Newly-elected Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker has mulled the idea of asking the National Guard to deal with the open-air illegal drug market that plagues Kensington. However, according to reports, Gov. Josh Shapiro is not likely to go along with that idea.

Under the legislation, a $1,000 tax credit would be available if a business hires an active member of the Pennsylvania Guard or if a current employee enlists or re-enlists in the Guard. The tax credit can offset income tax or corporate net income tax liabilities.

Delaware Valley state Sens. Maria Collett (D-Montgomery), Katie Muth (D-Chester/Montgomery), and Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) are co-sponsors of the bipartisan bill.

“With the second largest National Guard in the nation, it’s clear that Pennsylvanians are committed to service,” said Collett. “Employers across the Commonwealth are in desperate need of a dedicated workforce that has the leadership, skills, and character developed by those who serve in our Guard. That’s why I am proud to sponsor SB 985 with Sen. Pennycuick to incentivize employers to hire even more of our Guard members.

“Whether through a deployment or their employment, this bi-partisan legislation underscores how important our National Guard members are to the safety, security, and strength of Pennsylvania,” said Collett.