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Senate Votes to Extend Tax Credit Legislation, Including WOTC

American Staffing Association (12/17/14) Toby Malara

One of the final bills of the 113th Congress, which would extend a variety of expired tax credits to both businesses and individuals through the end of the year, was approved late last night. The legislation allows taxpayers to claim the tax credits on their 2014 returns.

Included in the package is the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, a federal tax credit available to employers that hire individuals from certain groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment. Many staffing firms benefit from this program. The one-year extension covers eligible claims for 2014.

Last month, the American Staffing Association joined more than 500 associations and nonprofit groups in signing a letter calling for Congress to make permanent several tax credit programs, including the WOTC.

Mood Brightens on Economy

Wall Street Journal (12/17/14) Janet Hook; Rebecca Ballhaus

The nation is becoming more optimistic about the economy, according to a poll of 1,000 adults by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News. Declining gasoline prices are having a positive effect on many families, approximately half of Americans say, and expectations that the economy will improve are higher than at any point since mid-2013. The poll was conducted at a time when consumer confidence, employment trends, and other economic indicators have been improving. Thirty-one percent of respondents expect the economy to improve in the coming year, while 17% expect it to worsen. That share of pessimism was down from 24% in October and stands at the lowest level in two years. Fifty-one percent say the economy will stay the same.

U.S. Consumer Prices Fall at Steepest Rate in Almost Six Years

Wall Street Journal (12/17/14) Josh Mitchell; Jonathan House

Consumer prices declined in November at the steepest rate in nearly six years, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, a sign inflation is falling because of declining oil prices. The Consumer Price Index fell a seasonally adjusted 0.3% from October, the largest one-month drop since December 2008, when the economy was in recession. Core prices, which exclude energy and food costs, increased 0.1%. Economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal had forecast a 0.1% decline in overall prices and a 0.1% gain in core prices.

Free ASA Webinar Tomorrow—The Facts About Payroll Cards

If your staffing firm uses a payroll card program, you probably know that these payment systems are under intense scrutiny by regulators and consumer advocates. Attorney Gerald Maatman Jr. of Seyfarth Shaw LLP will offer advice on avoiding and defending against lawsuits and regulatory enforcement proceedings during the ASA webinar “Payroll Cards—What Staffing Firms Need to Know.” It takes place tomorrow, Dec. 18, 3–4 p.m. Eastern time.

All ASA webinars are free for ASA members, and most qualify for continuing education hours toward ASA certification renewal. To learn more and to register, visit