President Barack Obama today signed a bill into law that provides tax credits to companies hiring unemployed veterans.
The tax breaks range from $5,600 to $9,600 with the size of the credit based on the worker's salary and how long the worker was unemployed.
The Senate and House each passed the bill unanimously earlier this month. The legislation comes at a time when financial firms are increasingly hiring veterans via efforts like the 100,00 Jobs Mission, Banks On Wall Street and The Wall Street Warfighters Foundation. The bill becomes law at a time when the U.S. jobless rate among post-9/11 vets hovers at around 11.5 percent, and is substantially larger in some places-15.2 percent in New York, for instance.
Who will get the largest amounts?
The tax credits will be highest for companies hiring disabled vets who have looked for work for more than half a year. "There is no group of people this country owes more to than its veterans," Richard Lipstein of Boyden Global Executive Search told eFinancialCareers. "I hope that every Wall Street firm makes an effort to recruit these very qualified individuals," he said.
The new veterans tax credits did finally bring together Democrats and Republicans for a change, giving President Barack Obama the chance to sign the first bit of his $447 billion jobs bill into law.
The House sent the bill to the White House by 422-0, six days after the Senate passed it 95-0.
The legislation not only creates tax breaks for companies hiring jobless veterans, but also increases vets' job training and counseling programs. For instance, it is designed to improve job counseling troops receive before they leave the army and to provide an additional year of job services for disabled veterans.
Finally, the legislation includes a measure that repeals a 2006 law that would require the federal, state and local governments to withhold 3 percent of their payments to contractors in order to ensure taxes would be paid.
The tax credits for hiring veterans have been seen costing the government an estimated $95 million, and the veterans' benefits represents just a fraction of the president's overall jobs plan.
But between the veterans educational programs and the contractors withholding changes, the bill is seen costing up to $11 billion. Part of that cost may be financed by extending a fee the Veterans Affairs Department charges to back mortgages. Other financing may also come from redefining who is eligible for federal help under new health care reform-making it more difficult for some to qualify for Medicaid or subsidized health care coverage, according to CNN.
In a November 11th editorial praising the Senate's newly passed tax-credit rules, Bloomberg noted that a $4,800 credit is already in place for hiring a veteran with a service-related disability, and observed furthermore that "The Obama administration, which has made helping military families a high-profile priority," has also initiated a Veterans Job Bank that allows employers and veterans to seek each other out using search filters, including zip codes and military occupation codes.
"The program, which began with 500,000 job postings, complements other low-cost public and private efforts to give veterans a boost in the job market. We have no illusion that these credits are going to create lots of new jobs," Bloomberg stated. "But they will encourage employers to favor veterans when hiring. In a robust, growing economy, that might be an unnecessary accommodation to returning military personnel. However, after a decade of brutal warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan, where fighting men and women have served grueling multiple deployments, it seems a small and entirely just recompense."