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 New York Legislature recently passed the “Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Act,” and Governor Cuomo signed it into law. 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 that 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 that has passed in more than 40 other states. It also mirrors federal legislation that includes a goal to award up to 3 percent of federal contracts to veteran-owned businesses.
Every year, the state procures billions of dollars in goods and services that 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, employers 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. The state also recently added a Veteran’s Employment Portal (www.veterans.ny.gov). This offers a one-stop career priority service to veterans and their eligible spouses.
William (Will) A. Barclay is the Republican representative of the 120th New York Assembly District, which encompasses most of Oswego County, including the cities of Oswego and Fulton, as well as the town of Lysander in Onondaga County and town of Ellisburg in Jefferson County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (315) 598-5185.