D.C. – With unemployment among young veterans in New York topping 14.6 percent, U.S.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is making a personal pitch today to New York
business to hire veterans and receive a tax break from the federal government
in return. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which was expanded earlier
this as part of the Economy Recovery Plan, can help thousands of veterans who
are returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan to find a still-reeling economy
and scarce jobs.
provide additional economic assistance for veterans, Senator Gillibrand is also
introducing the Veterans’ Business Center Act of 2009 – legislation that
would help veterans gain access to capital and federal grant money to start new
businesses and grow existing ones, as well as new a proposal to provide
assistance for homeless veterans.
“Too many veterans are coming home to a very bad job market and unable to find
work,” Senator Gillibrand said. “They fulfilled their duty to our country, and
now it’s time for us to fulfill our duty to them by making sure they have
access to a good-paying job. The tax breaks we put in place earlier this year
are a win-win for businesses and veterans, but we need to make sure businesses
know they are available and take advantage of them by hiring more veterans. I’m
making a personal pitch to the business owners I meet to hire a vet and take
advantage of the tax credit.”
to a new report from Senator Gillibrand, 7.3 percent of all veterans across New
York State are unemployed.
READ Senator Gillibrand’s full report.
- In New York City, an estimated
17,300 veterans are unemployed. Unemployment among New York City veterans
increased by an estimated 4,700 over the last year.
- In Western New York, an estimated
8,800 veterans are unemployed. Unemployment among Western New York Veterans
increased by an estimated 2,400 over the last year.
- In the Rochester/Finger Lakes Region, an estimated
6,600 veterans are unemployed. Unemployment among all Rochester-Finger Lakes
Region veterans increased by an estimated 1,800 over the last year.
- In Central New York, an estimated
5,800 veterans are unemployed. Unemployment among Central New York veterans
increased by an estimated 1,600 over the last year.
- In the Southern Tier, an estimated
4,500 veterans are unemployed. Unemployment among Southern Tier veterans
increased by an estimated 1,200 over the last year.
- In the Capital Region, an estimated
7,200 veterans are unemployed. Unemployment among Capital Region veterans increased
by an estimated 2,000 over the last year.
- In the North Country, an estimated
3,000 veterans are unemployed. Unemployment among North Country veterans
increased by an estimated 800 over the last year.
- In the Hudson Valley, an estimated
9,500 veterans are unemployed. Unemployment among Hudson Valley veterans
increased by an estimated 2,600 over the last year.
- On Long Island, an estimated
12,200 veterans are unemployed. Unemployment among Long Island veterans
increased by an estimated 3,300 over the last year.
honor our veterans and give them the resources they need during these difficult
economic times, Senator Gillibrand is launching a legislative agenda to provide
economic assistance for veterans.
Jobs for Veterans, Tax Cuts for Businesses
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that Senator Gillibrand
helped pass earlier this year expanded the Work Opportunity Tax Credit to
include new incentives for businesses to hire returning veterans, and extended
them through the end of 2010. But with so few businesses aware of the tax
credit, the opportunity has gone under-utilized. Senator Gillibrand has been
partnering with local Chambers of Commerce across New York State throughout
this year to raise awareness among New York businesses of the tax credit, and
encourage them to hire New York veterans returning home.
With Veteran’s Day this week and unemployment among New York veterans remaining
high, Senator Gillibrand is writing to every single Chamber of Commerce in New
York, urging them to work with their members and encourage area businesses to
hire veterans and utilize the federal tax break.
return for hiring a veteran, businesses may write off 40 percent of the first
$6,000 paid to a veteran. The veteran needs to be out of the service for no
more than five years, and must have spent at least 4 weeks of the previous year
Senator Gillibrand is writing to the Assistant Secretary for the U.S.
Department of Labor, Jane Oates, requesting that the Labor Department’s Web
site be updated with current information about the Work Opportunity Tax
Credit to make sure businesses and veterans know about the opportunities
available to them.
New Veterans Business Centers
14 percent of all small businesses are owned by veterans. But like all
entrepreneurs, veterans face the challenge of getting access to the capital
they need to get new business ideas off the ground. To help give them the
start-up money they need, Senator Gillibrand is introducing the Veterans’
Business Center Act of 2009 – legislation that would establish a national
network of Veterans Business Centers (VBCs) to serve as a one-stop-shop for
veterans trying to start a business.
Based on effective Women Business Center models, the new national network of
VBCs would help veterans navigate federal grant programs to start new
businesses, and offer expert guidance for veterans working to start or grow
their businesses. The legislation would provide each VBC with up to $150,000
each year for up to five years, leveraging at least 50 percent from private
investments or other sources.
The VBCs would be targeted for areas with high numbers of returning veterans
with the ability to assist over 100,000 businesses nationwide within their
first two years. Based on New York’s share of all small businesses, that means
more than 10,000 businesses assisted in New York
Veterans Homeless Fund
Over 130,000 veterans are homeless, according to estimates from the
Department of Veterans Affairs. With more and more veterans returning from Iraq
and Afghanistan, and with the economic downfall keeping them out of the job
market, veterans are at increasingly high risk of living in poverty and
homelessness. In fact, according to a study by the National Alliance to End Homelessness,
over 70,000 veterans recently home from Iraq and Afghanistan spend over half of
their income on housing, despite not having access to a new job once they get
home – putting them at extreme risk of going homeless.
To help give homeless veterans the
resources they need, Senator Gillibrand is co-sponsoring legislation that would
allow American taxpayers the opportunity to provide $3 of their taxes for
homeless veterans by creating a new check-off box on federal tax returns,
similar to the Presidential Election Campaign fund.
$3 check-box would not be required, but would simply give every taxpayer the
chance to send some much-needed help to homeless veterans.