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SAINT PAUL, MN—On Monday, legislators unveiled new legislation aimed at tackling Minnesota’s veterans unemployment rate, the third highest in the nation for veterans who have served since 2001.
Representative Anna Wills, R-Apple Valley, was joined by Senator Chuck Wiger, DFL-Maplewood, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, and a number of veterans organizations at the press conference. The bill, which will receive its first reading in the House during session on Monday, would offer tax credits to businesses that hire unemployed Minnesota veterans.
“While no single piece of legislation will solve the problem entirely, I believe this is a good first step,” Wills said. “Providing a tax credit for hiring veterans is a win-win for Minnesota. It helps incentivize job creation for our service members returning from overseas, lowers the unemployment rate, and helps generate additional tax revenue for the state.”
Senator Wiger added: "Our veterans patriotically served our country in a time of need. It is imperative we recognize their efforts and do all we can to encourage the public and private sector to hire vets," said Senator Wiger. "Vets are highly trained and motivated professionals who face a significant unemployment rate. While a lot of programs are aimed at this issue, we need to do more to help lower this rate."
The bill will help Minnesota businesses hire skilled, disciplined workers. “This legislation is win-win for both companies and veterans and ultimately benefits our entire state. As a member of the Minnesota National Guard’s Senior Advisory Council, I understand the importance to our veterans of putting their training and skills to work in good-paying jobs that can support their families,” said Secretary Ritchie.
The bill has strong support from a number of veterans and veterans’ advocacy groups, many of which were represented at the press conference. Among the groups represented were the Military Action Group (MAG), the United Veterans Legislative Council (UVLC), the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV), and the Association of the United States Army (AUSA).
Dennis Davis, Chief Translation Officer for Metafrazo, a firm which helps organizations create and manage sustainable veteran hiring practices, praised the bill and the impact it would have for the state’s veterans. “As a veteran who has transitioned on and off of active orders multiple times in the last decade and still serving as a Reservist, I understand the plight veterans have in finding employment at a level commensurate with their experience. Giving employers an incentive to invest in veteran hiring is a win-win-win impacting the veteran community, the employer and the state as veteran unemployment lessons. I firmly support this legislation; it makes good fiscal sense but is also simply the right thing to do for those who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we all enjoy.”
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