With unemployment among young veterans in New York nearly 20 percent, and higher in the North Country, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has begun an effort to make tax credits for businesses that hire recent veterans permanent.
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit that Sen. Gillibrand helped establish last year encourages businesses to hire veterans who have recently returned from Iraq and Afghanistan in exchange for a 40 percent credit on the first $6,000 paid to a veteran. The tax credit is set to expire at the end of this year.
“Too many veterans are still coming home to a very bad job market and struggling to find work,” 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 are a win-win for businesses and veterans, and now we need to make them permanent so we can continue supporting businesses, create jobs, and put more of our veterans to work as they come home to their families so they can succeed in the economy.”
New estimates based on data from the New York State Department of Labor and the U.S. Census indicate that nearly 20 percent of veterans under the age of 30 are unemployed, and more than 7 percent of all veterans across New York State are unemployed. Nearly 8,000 New York veterans under the age of 30 are unemployed.
In the North Country, more than 560 veterans under the age of 30 are unemployed, according to the Labor Department and Census data.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act last 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.
To raise awareness of the tax credit, Gillibrand’s office says she has been working with local chambers of commerce across New York to encourage their member businesses use the tax credit, and hire New York veterans returning home.
After hiring a veteran, businesses may write off 40 percent of the first $6,000 paid to a veteran. The veteran must have been out of the service for no more than five years.
Already more than 500 veterans across New York have been hired using the credit. Extending the credit would enable more returning veterans to find work as the economy improves and will help those businesses who’ve committed to hiring recent veterans.
The Defense Department would also be required to give information about the tax credit to exiting service members, and provide documentation to demonstrate their eligibility for the credit.
Gillibrand says she is working to make this tax credit permanent.