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Employers could get incentives to hire veterans

published 3/4/2013
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For over a year, Tim Mulroy, an Army veteran who served in Desert Storm, has struggled to find work.

“It’s like they don’t want to hire us veterans,” he told the House State Government Finance and Veterans Affairs Committee Monday. “You’d think they’d want to hire us.”

Mulroy is among the 11.7 percent of Minnesota veterans who are currently unemployed — more than double the state’s civilian unemployment rate, according to Rep. Anna Wills (R-Apple Valley).

In an effort to help veterans find jobs, Wills sponsors HF532 that would provide a nonrefundable income tax credit for hiring veterans, including $3,000 for each disabled veteran hired, $1,500 for each unemployed veteran and $500 for each other veteran hired.

Rep. Connie Bernardy (DFL-Fridley) sponsors a similar bill, David StantonHF533, which would give employers the same tax credits for disabled and unemployed veterans. However, her bill would give the $1,500 tax credit if the employer hires an underemployed veteran.

Both bills were approved and referred to the House Taxes Committee. The companion of HF532 is SF337. Sponsored by Sen. Chuck Wiger (DFL-Maplewood), it awaits action by the Senate Taxes Committee. HF533 has no Senate companion.

Bernardy said her bill would not only help veterans find jobs, but spur the economy.

“(Veterans) are such great assets to our community,” she said.

Dennis Davis, founder of Metafrazo, a firm that encourages employers to hire veterans, said with federal budget cuts, more veterans are expected to exit the military in the coming years.

He added that at the $3,000 level, the credit would pay for itself within five weeks when compared to the maximum unemployment benefit rate.

“For every veteran hired and no longer dependent on state benefits, the people of Minnesota win,” he said.

(Pictured above, David Stanton, an unemployed veteran, speaks to the Hosue State Government Finance and Veterans Affairs Committee March 4 in favor of a pair of bills that would provide a tax credit to employers that hire veterans. Photo by Paul Battaglia)

- Liz Stoever

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