January 30, 2017

Supporting Veterans

Photo of Senator Looney with veterans who are small business owners.

Our veterans answered the call of duty, so when they return home to Connecticut, the state should be there to lend a helping hand. As policymakers, we must use every tool in the toolbox to improve the lives of these veterans and their families and do everything we can to assure that they earn a good living—either by being employed in a business owned by another, or, in many cases, by starting and maintaining their own successful business.

Veteran entrepreneurs serve our country all over again by creating good jobs for their fellow citizens. That’s why Senate Democrats led passage of a new law to help small businesses that are 51 percent owned by a veteran. The legislation provides veterans an edge in bidding for state contracts by providing for a 15 percent preference for their business’s bids.

Public Act 16-184 makes Connecticut the 12th state in the country to provide a preference or set aside for veteran-owned businesses when it comes to state contracting. This was a continuation of a multi-year focus by the General Assembly, led by the Senate Democrats, on improving the lives of our vets, supporting them in every way possible, and helping to ensure they can earn a living.

Connecticut is one of the most “veteran friendly” states in the nation. Other groundbreaking pieces of recent veterans legislation include:

  • The highly successful “STEP-UP Employment Program for Veterans,” which has helped hundreds of veterans find high-quality employment.
  • The “Veteran’s Opportunity Pilot Program” to help homeless vets find jobs.
  • A 100 percent exemption from the state income tax for military retirement pay, helping to guarantee a secure retirement for our aging heroes.
  • The groundbreaking Husky Women’s Veteran’s Program, an initiative focusing exclusively on the unique needs of our returning female veterans.
  • Special Act 15-1, which improves on-campus services offered at our new “OASIS Centers” to our returning vets who go back to college upon their return home, helping ensure they receive a great education and a solid start in civilian life.
  • The “Veterans for Agriculture Program,” which requires the state Department of Agriculture to assist vets who want to start an agricultural business.