State Sen. Mike Stack (D-Philadelphia) is sponsoring a bill that would provide a $4,000 tax credit to small businesses that hire veterans.
“It’s a win/win because the employer will get a great employee in a veteran and be doing the right thing to hire one of our heroes and also get a tax credit,” Stack said. “So I think it’s job creation and it’s rewarding the folks that have fought for us.”
Stack notes the unemployment rate in Pennsylvania for veterans is 9.9 percent compared to the statewide unemployment rate of 7.8 percent.
“Our veterans probably are at a disadvantage because they come home and there are other folks who have been looking for jobs and have their resumes ready and have already been pounding the pavement who might get ahead of them for the limited number of jobs,” he said.
Stack said state government has not done a good enough job helping to connect veterans to good employment or helping employers find qualified veterans. He said the veterans also often do not even know of the benefits available to them.
“I don’t think that we have done enough to pinpoint the kinds of jobs that veterans are really well qualified for with their training," Stack said. "They have technological training, they have leadership qualities that most employees don’t have."
Stack said the legislation concentrates on helping veterans find jobs in small businesses that pay “family-sustaining level” wages, not minimum wage.
“I think our definition of a small business is 50 or less employees, but I hope to be able to work with Representative (Bryan) Barbin (D-Cambria County) in the House and other members to expand the tax credit to other larger employers,” he said.
Stack said he expects money for the tax credit to eventually be recouped.
“What’s essentially going to happen is more folks are going to be back to work, more people are going to be paying taxes, more money will be going into the state economy, and therefore, that’s how it pays for itself,” he said.