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Employing Our Veterans
As a former Chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I am deeply concerned by the high unemployment rate among US Military veterans today.
National labor statistics report an 11.5 percent unemployment rate among all veterans—over 2 percent higher than the regular rate. In addition, 20 percent of veterans under age 25 are unemployed.
To help address this problem, I voted for legislation in October that will provide employers with a tax credit of $900/month for every veteran they hire. This year, I hope we can do even more by expanding the STEP-Up job training and employment program to specifically benefit veterans.
The federal government is also helping out with a Wounded Warriors Tax Credit of up to $9,600 that will increase existing tax credits for firms that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities who have been unemployed six months or longer.
The federal Returning Heroes Tax Credit also provides up to $5,600 directly to veterans who have been unemployed six months or longer.
Both federal tax credits apply to veterans who began work for their employer after November 21, 2011.
I am optimistic that taken together, these three initiatives will help achieve a substantial reduction in veteran unemployment. Click here for more info.
Helping Entrepreneurs Get Started
Just weeks ago, I was pleased to join Groton Long Point resident, inventor and entrepreneur Anthony Viggiano at a demonstration in Mystic of his new Autotether wireless lanyard boating safety device.
Mr. Viggiano is an avid fisherman, and was inspired to create the wireless lanyard while reflecting on what might happen if he fell off a moving boat alone, with no one else to help him. His invention automatically cuts the boat’s engine when a user falls overboard.
Autotether LLC designed and continues to manufacture its product right here in Connecticut. In order to grow the company in a tough economy, Autotehter has raised $505,000 from angel investors in recent months, just over half of their $1 million goal.
I am proud to have led the effort in the General Assembly to first pass and then expand the Angel Investor Tax Credit, which incentivizes investment in local startup companies like Autotether. Many companies have found it difficult to borrow from banks during the recession and in the aftermath of the credit crisis.
Small businesses like Autotether are the greatest job creators in our economy. I am optimistic that the Angel Investor Tax Credit will continue to help new Connecticut companies on their way to success.
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