Legislative Democrats Call for Support on Veterans Employment Initiative

GRAND RAPIDS–Legislative Democrats called for support of bipartisan, bicameral legislation introduced last week that would give small businesses a tax credit when they hire an unemployed veteran. The Hire MI Heroes Act, sponsored by Senator Vincent Gregory (D-Southfield) in the Senate and Rep. Charles Smiley (D-Burton) in the House of Representatives, was introduced in the Senate last week. Smiley will introduce the bill in the House in the coming weeks.
“Michigan residents care about helping our veterans achieve the American Dream they’ve fought to protect,” Senator Curtis Hertel, Jr. said. “But as a state, we’ve done a terrible job putting that into action. The Hire MI Heroes bill is a win-win for small businesses and veterans. My colleagues on both sides of the aisle support it. I hope we can take action swiftly to help our heroes and our economy.”
Senator Hertel, Jr. was joined by Rep. Brandon Dillon (D-Grand Rapids), veteran Michael Tuffelmire and Steve Sawicki, general manager of CARSTAR.
“Our veterans represent the best of our country, yet we are not doing enough to help them after they serve,” Rep. Dillon said. “By helping veterans find work, we can start properly investing in them and further grow our economy from the middle out.”
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.
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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