By state Assemblyman Will Barclay
New York is home to more than 900,000 veterans, and some estimates indicate that as many as 72 percent have seen combat.
Additionally, New York is home to about 30,000 active duty military personnel, as well as 30,000 National Guard and Reservists.
Many returning vets choose to start up their own small businesses upon return. In fact, New York has the fourth highest number of veteran-owned small businesses in the country.
The state Legislature recently passed the “Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Act” and it was signed by the governor. The goal is to increase participation of service-disabled veteran-owned business and award up to 6 percent of all state contracts to such businesses.
I was pleased to vote in support, and in fact, I co-sponsor a similar measure called NY Jobs for Heroes. I was pleased many aspects of that measure were integrated into the governor’s program bill and signed into law.
This law contains one of the more meaningful reforms New York has made to help veterans in recent years.
The new state law is similar to legislation passed in more than 40 other states. It also mirrors federal legislation that includes a goal to award up to 3% of federal contracts to veteran-owned businesses.
Every year, the state procures billions of dollars in goods and services which benefit New Yorkers. Each state agency does its own contracting.
The new law creates a division of service-disabled veterans’ business development within the Office of General Services. In order to qualify, the businesses will have to go through a certification process and the division will create and maintain a directory of qualified service-disabled veteran-owned businesses and assist state agencies in promoting the use of these businesses.
I was pleased this measure passed. This dovetails on some of the improvements that were signed into law last year, including a tax credit for employers who hire veterans.
Beginning in 2015, those who hire a veteran who has been discharged on or after Sept. 11, 2001 will receive a tax credit equal to 10 percent of each veteran’s salary or $5,000, whichever is less.
The credit increases to 15 percent for the employer if the veteran is disabled. A Veteran’s Employment Portal was added recently as well. This offers a one-stop career priority service to veterans and their eligible spouses, which can be accessed at http://www.veterans.ny.gov/.
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My office can be reached by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 598-5185. You can also friend me, Assemblyman Barclay, on Facebook.