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Schock Introduces Jobs Bill Aimed at Helping Veterans
Legislation will help Veterans Realize American Dream of Starting a Small Business

Washington, Sep 14 -

Congressman Aaron Schock has introduced legislation that will help veterans purchase small businesses. The Help Veterans Own Franchises Act, H.R. 2888, helps a veteran reduce the cost of owning a franchise by offering a tax discount to offset the associated franchise fees.

“There are close to 900,000 unemployed veterans in the United States. These individuals are highly skilled, well trained and motivated; qualities that make successful business owners. These veterans can provide the type of leadership we need to help create jobs and lead us toward an economic recovery,” said Schock, a member of the Ways and Means committee, the chief tax writing committee in the House. “By providing this financial incentive to veterans who want to open a franchise, we can grow our nation’s small businesses and stimulate economic growth.”

Schock first introduced his veterans’ jobs legislation last Congress as a member of the small business committee. He has again introduced the legislation with his colleague from Iowa, Democrat Leonard Boswell, a twenty year Army veteran and helicopter pilot in Vietnam. He was encouraged to reintroduce the legislation again this year because of the large number of veterans who have already returned home and who are scheduled to return by the end of the year from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. While the unemployment rate among post-9/11 veterans has improved in recent months, from a high of 13.3 percent in July down to 9.8 percent in August, it’s still above the national average of 9.1 percent, and Schock stresses more can and must be done for returning veterans.

According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for veterans who served in the military at any time since September 2001 was 11.5 percent in 2010. Nearly 2.5 million men and women have left active duty in the Armed Forces since September 2001, accounting for 11 percent of the total U.S. veterans’ population.  In Illinois, the unemployment rate among veterans was 9.8 percent in 2010. Many are concerned that while the economy continues to struggle, returning veterans will be faced with the daunting task of finding a job or seeking the training needed to find employment in the citizen world, and this problem is only expected to worsen.

Every year 200,000 active Armed Forces members are discharged and become veterans. Those numbers are only projected to increase as tens of thousands of service men and women return from deployment in Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations around the world. Every year, 100,000 guard and reserve forces come back and are entering the workforce looking for a job. Veterans aged 18-24 are hit particularly hard with an unemployment rate of over 30 percent and those 25-29 have an unemployment rate of over 12 percent. A new report from the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC) entitled, “Meeting the Needs of Veterans in Today’s Labor Force,” finds that veterans who have served on active duty since September 2001 face the highest unemployment rate among all veterans. Schock uses this report as a prime example for the need for additional congressional action to help veterans transition from military service to the civilian workforce.

The Help Veterans Own Franchises Act encourages veteran small business franchise ownership by providing a tax credit to veterans worth 25% of the franchise fees associated with the opening up of a new franchise, up to $100,000.

A recent report from the Small Business Administration (SBA) found that military service is highly correlated with self employment and business ownership and that veterans are at least 45 percent more likely to be self employed business owners than the general population. Another study found that one out of every seven franchise businesses are owned and operated by a veteran; this translates into more than 66,000 veteran owned businesses providing 815,000 jobs and roughly $41 billion in GDP. Overall there are roughly 2.5 million veteran owned firms employing almost six million people.

“Our veterans of all generations have been asked to make untold sacrifices in service to our country,” said Schock. “As the economy continues to struggle and our unemployment rate is stubbornly stuck above nine percent, we should be doing all we can to help incentivize the development and growth of small businesses. I believe this bill sends a strong message not only to our veterans that we are looking out for them when they return home, but that Washington is serious about job creation. This is the type of signal Congress can send to show that we want to put job creation in the hands of those who know how to do it best, and that’s not the federal government.”

This week, Senator Robert Casey of Pennsylvania introduced similar legislation in the Senate. Schock’s legislation has been referred to the House Ways and Means committee for further consideration, and he is hopeful the committee will take action on his legislation in the near future.