SOUTHFIELD–Small business owners that hire unemployed veterans would be eligible for tax credits under a veterans employment initiative launched today. The Hire MI Heroes Act, sponsored by Senator Vincent Gregory (D-Southfield) in the Senate, was turned in to the Senate yesterday and has broad bipartisan support.

“Unemployment is a very real enemy that our veterans shouldn’t have to face alone,” Senator Gregory said. “With the ‘Hire MI Heroes’ legislation, both veterans and small businesses win because it will help Michigan’s small businesses and economy grow while putting our heroes back to work.”

Senator Gregory, a Vietnam veteran, and Representatives Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield), Robert Wittenberg (D-Oak Park), and Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills) were joined by local veterans and supporters to announce the launch of the “Hire MI Heroes Act” to encourage businesses to hire veterans. The legislation, which will also be introduced in the House, will provide Michigan businesses that hire an unemployed veteran with a one-time tax credit of 25% of the veterans’ compensation up to $4,000.

“Our men and women in armed forces put their lives on the line to defend our freedom and we need to stand up for them when they return home,” said state Rep. Jeremy Moss. “We can and should do more for our veterans, and this legislation will help them live the American dream that they were fighting to protect.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 31,000 of the state’s nearly 650,000 veterans are unemployed. In 2013, Michigan had the second-highest veteran unemployment rate in the U.S., with a rate of 10.6 %, a full four percentage points above the national average for veterans. These numbers are even worse for our newest veterans, with Michigan’s unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans at 13.5% in 2013, also more than 4% higher than the national rate.

Additional resources are available from the State of Michigan’s Veterans Employment Services Division at (800) 455-5228 or by emailing veteransservices@michigan.gov.

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