Disabled veterans would be given preference for state contracts under bill proposed by Sen. Ritchie of Heuvelton
Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - 6:03 am

Disabled veterans would be given preference for state contracts under a measure supported by Sen. Patricia Ritchie of Heuvelton, who represents western St. Lawrence County.

The measure, (S.2803-B) also known as the “NY Jobs for Heroes” program, is an initiative that would amend the executive law to require state agencies to set a goal of awarding 3 percent of contracts to businesses that are owned by service-disabled veterans.

“After traveling the world in support of our country, many of our veterans decide to settle in New York State—especially in the region that surrounds Fort Drum,” said Sen. Ritchie.

“Service-disabled veterans have made the ultimate sacrifice in putting their lives on the line to protect our freedom. The very least we can do to recognize them for their contributions is to stand with them and provide them with the support they need to succeed in their post-military life.”

The legislation mirrors a federal program and similar legislation that has been enacted in nearly 40 other states. It has repeatedly passed the Senate since its introduction in 2007.

It passed both the Senate and Assembly in 2009, but was vetoed by then Gov. David Paterson.

In New York State, unemployment among returning veterans is nearly 20 percent, and nearly 8,000 veterans under the age of 30 are without jobs. It’s estimated that one in seven veterans are self-employed or small business owners.

Cosponsorship of the measure represents Senator Ritchie’s most recent effort to support current members and veterans of our armed services.

Earlier this month, a measure Sen. Ritchie supported to offer a new tax credit to businesses that hire veterans when they return home from military service went into effect.