LEGISLATIVE GAZETTE: JOBS FOR HEROES BILL GETS BIG-NAME SUPPORT

 

    By Matthew McKibben

    On the same day Sen. Greg Ball organized the Jobs for Heroes lobby day to promote legislation that would help disabled veterans find work, the governor issued a statement of support for the program.

    The NY Jobs for Heroes program (S.2803-b), if passed, would create a 5 percent state contract preference for small businesses owned by service–connected disabled veterans.

    Ball sponsored the same legislation in 2007 and 2009 when it passed the Senate and Assembly but was vetoed by former Gov. David Paterson.

    Ball stood with veterans and lawmakers earlier this month to say the bill would have an immediate impact on disabled veterans.

    “For years we have been working to pass the New York Jobs for Heroes program. I am excited that Gov. Cuomo has joined the NY Jobs for Heroes push by committing to provide a 5 percent set-aside in his State of the State Address,” said Ball, chairman of the Senate Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee.

    Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, D-Brooklyn, is the sponsor of the same-as bill (A.5872-a) in the Assembly. Ortiz, an Army veteran, says he thinks the bill will get passed and will help unemployed veterans.

    “This will be the year that we can stand up together with the governor who has managed to take a leap to ensure that this bill becomes a reality as well and to speak loud and clear that he does want this to happen,” Ortiz said.

    Cuomo showed support for the initiative, saying the legislation would expand economic opportunity for the more than 900,000 New York veterans — 72 percent of whom have served during periods of conflict — and the approximately 88,000 New Yorkers who served in Afghanistan or Iraq.

    “Supporting small businesses owned by New York’s service-disabled veterans is just one way that we can honor the tremendous sacrifice that these brave individuals have made for our State and nation,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This legislation will help us meet the goal of awarding five percent of all State contracts to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, and will play a large part in our ongoing efforts to create new economic opportunities for the men and women of the U.S. armed forces.”

    “For years, we have been working to pass the ‘NY Jobs For Heroes’ program. I am so excited to partner with Governor Cuomo to make 2014 the year that we provide this 5 percent set aside,” Ball said in response to the governor’s support of the bill.

    Both Ball and Ortiz met with representatives from the Governor’s Office before holding the press conference. Ball said the governor has reaffirmed his support for the 5 percent set-aside and he hopes the recent lobby day ensures the governor includes the set-aside in his 30 day amended budget.

    Bill Nelson, former CEO of HBO and a Vietnam veteran, voiced his support for the bill saying if people were well informed of the language in the legislation they would be extremely displeased that it hasn’t passed.

    “The great majority of citizens in New York would like to know the rationale for not supporting this effort which simply mirrors the legislation passed by the Federal Government and almost 90 percent of the US states,” Nelson said, citing the 44 states that have already passed similar legislation. (ARTICLE)