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Posted: Jan 12 2015 1:30PM
RELEASE: Wills to push for veterans hiring bill
SAINT PAUL, MN—Rep. Anna Wills, R-Apple Valley, will push for a veterans hiring tax credit aimed at lowering veteran unemployment, a bill she chief authored in 2013 and will once again spearhead for the 2015 legislative session as a member of the House Majority. The Veterans Hiring Tax Credit bill would offer tax credits to businesses that hire Minnesota veterans. The bill was assigned House File 10, signaling a strong likelihood that the credit will be among the top legislative priorities for the 2015 session.
"With thousands of Minnesota veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, now is the time to ensure our servicemen and women have good-paying jobs to come back to as they transition back to civilian life," Wills said. "This bill is a win-win for Minnesota veterans and Minnesota employers; it helps address the unemployment rate for Minnesota veterans who served our country, and helps Minnesota businesses lower their tax burden by hiring highly skilled and qualified employees."
As of November 2013, Minnesota's veteran unemployment rate is 5.0% overall, and 8.8% for post-9/11 veterans, compared to the state's current overall unemployment rate of 3.7%.
The bill has strong support from a number of veteran advocacy groups, and is the listed as one of the top legislative priorities for the United Veterans Legislative Council (UVLC) and the Military Action Group (MAG), two veterans organizations that advocate for veterans issues at the Capitol.
The bill is also supported by Metafrazo, a firm that helps organizations create and manage sustainable veteran hiring practices. Metafrazo Chief Transition Officer Dennis Davis, a noted author and veteran career transition expert, praised the bill as an opportunity to address the state's veteran unemployment rate.
"Serving our nation's veterans must remain a top priority and Minnesota has a unique opportunity to put our veterans first this legislative session" Davis said. "With veteran unemployment rates which linger above the state and national averages, more must be done to encourage employers to take a serious look at veterans. In the coming years, the gap in skilled labor will grow and our best opportunity to lead in closing this gap is through identifying and hiring the right veterans for these positions."
HF10 has bipartisan support, with thirteen co-authors overall. Three DFL members, including Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji, the DFL-lead on the Veterans Affairs Division, are co-authors of the bill. Veterans Affairs Division Chair Rep. Bob Dettmer, R-Forest Lake, is also a co-author. The bill Wills authored in 2013 attracted more than 50 co-authors.
"Helping our veterans is an issue that unites Republicans and Democrats," Wills added. "I'm proud to have secured strong bipartisan support for this legislation, and hope to see that support continue as this bill makes its way through the legislative process."
HF10 received its first reading during Thursday's legislative session, and was referred the Veterans Affairs Division where it's likely to receive its first committee hearing in the coming weeks.
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