Lawmakers Introduce Bill To Offer $500 Tax Credit For Union Workers In Delaware

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Recent legislation filed in the Delaware Senate, if approved, would provide financial relief to union workers. This legislation was introduced late last month with the aim of creating a tax credit for union workers who are active and pay annual fees.

Tax Credit For Union Workers: Who Would Get It?

State Sen. Nicole Poore, along with House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst and State Sen. Jack Walsh, introduced Senate Bill 72. Poore notes that the tax credit for union workers would help defray the cost of annual union dues.

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“People pay union dues, they need work boots, they need uniforms, all kinds of things like that, and so this just gives them a little incentive to want to work for our local unions but also to have that tax break," Poore says.

Further, Poore says the tax credit for union workers would help to do away with the barrier to union participation. She notes the legislation would work as an incentive for the union members.  

“We want to make sure that there's a tax credit just like there's a tax credit for our bigger businesses, and that you know we have people that are going to work and have an opportunity,” Poore says.

Eligible members would be allowed to claim a $500 tax credit for union dues. Those eligible for the tax credit for union members would be able to apply for it at the time of filing taxes. The bill has been sent to the Senate Labor Committee, and if passed, it would take effect for the 2024 tax year.

Is The Credit Needed?

Although the legislation seems to be a step in the right direction, not everyone is on board with it, including the president of a state contractors' group.

Edward Capodanno, president of the Associated Builders and Contractors Delaware, believes the legislation would favor one specific group, and thus, is unfair.

Capodanno says there are many companies that pay membership dues to business organizations but don’t get a similar credit. Capodanno says his group will lobby against the proposed legislation.

 “…I don’t see why we’d do it for one specific group if we’re not gonna do it for everybody,” Capodanno says, according to Delaware Live.

Union membership in Delaware has dropped over the past year. The membership has gone down from 9.7% of the workforce in 2021 (about 42,000 workers), to 8.5% in 2022 (about 38,000 workers), according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Moreover, Delaware’s union participation is lower than the national average of 10.1% in 2022 (about 14,285,000 workers). The national average dropped from 2021, when it was 10.3%.

Capodanno says if all unions in the state, including teachers, building trades and service employee unions, get the $500 tax credit, it would cost the state about $10 million annually.