LEGISLATORS, VETS TO CUOMO: HONOR OUR HEROES, KEEP YOUR WORD

 

    Albany, N.Y. – 01/24/2014 – Senator Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson), Chairman of the Senate Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee, is calling on Governor Cuomo to make good on his commitment to provide a 5% contract set aside for service-connected disabled veterans.

    “Governor Cuomo, I applauded you for joining the NY Jobs for Heroes push when you committed to providing a 5% set aside for service-connected disabled veterans in your State of the State. You deserve the credit for supporting this worthwhile cause and we were excited to have your support. However, there must be some kind of oversight, because you seem to have forgotten to include this set aside, for service disabled veterans, in your budget. Disabled veterans have already given enough. It is time we join the 44 other states and the federal government that have already led the way, and get this done. No games. No gimmicks. Let’s just honor your initial commitment and give our heroes the 5% set aside they have rightfully earned,” said Senator Greg Ball.

    The NY Jobs For Heroes Program will create a state contract preference for service-connected disabled veteran owned small businesses in New York State. The legislation mirrors the highly successful federal program that is presently established for a contract set aside. Currently over forty other states are successfully using this program.

    Senator Greg Ball’s legislation has repeatedly passed in the Senate since it was introduced in 2007. New Yorkers can sign the Jobs For Heroes Petition by visiting: www.nysenate.gov/webform/petition-ny-jobs-heroes-program.

    “Governor Cuomo said it’s time to show respect to the disabled veterans that have been so loyal to us and our country. I wholeheartedly agree, which is why I supported Senator Ball’s legislation to award at least 5 percent of state contracts to small business owners who suffered a service-connected disability. We don’t need a study to figure out if this is the right thing to do. We know it’s the right thing to do. The time to take action is now,” said Senator Joseph A. Griffo (R-Rome).

    “In his 2014 State of the State Address, Governor Cuomo called for a goal of five percent in the awarding of state contracts to disabled, veteran-owned small businesses. I agreed with this proposal and said so because helping our heroes is one of my top priorities. I am proud to join my colleague Senator Greg Ball in saying it is vitally important that this promise be honored and include – at least – a five percent set aside of state contracts for disabled veteran-owned small businesses in the State Budget. Our veterans served with honor, courage and distinction. New York needs to show its loyalty and deliver the support our veterans need,” said Kathleen A. Marchione (R,C-Halfmoon).

    “We don’t need a study to know veterans are suffering from an unemployment rate double that of their civilian counterpart. We’ve said look, enough is enough, we’ve got to step up, set new standards and make sure that the last place that our veterans are going when they come home from Afghanistan is to an unemployment line,” Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) said. “Without a policy like Jobs for Heroes program in place that’s just going to continue.”

    “It’s about helping to get jobs for our injured veterans,” noted Bill Mahan, vice chairman of The American Legion’s New York State Legislative  Committee. “The 5% set aside was not included in the governor’s initial budget proposal. We hope that reflecting back on the service of our disabled veterans, Governor Cuomo and our legislative leaders will work together to provide this set aside.”

    “It troubles me that Governor Cuomo would promise a 5% state contract preference set aside for disabled Veterans one week, and pull the rug out the next. It is shameful and I urge the Governor to work with Senator Greg Ball to ensure his promise actually makes it in his budget, veterans didn’t go back on their word to defend our nation, Governor Cuomo shouldn’t go back on his word to them,” said Bob Becker, Legislative Chairman of the New York State Council of Veterans Organizations.

    “Promises made, promises kept. This motto can be said for all the brave men and women who have served in the United States Military. For Governor Cuomo? Dereliction of Duty. The Governor promised a 5% set aside for disabled Veterans in his State of the State but mere days later fails to include it in his budget. In the military dereliction of duty is considered dishonorable… that can be applied here,” said Eugene Parrotta, Chairman of Senator Greg Ball’s Veterans Advisory Council and two time Purple Heart Recipient.

    “On behalf of the more than 300,000 Vietnam and Vietnam-era veterans, the largest single block of veterans in New York State’s population of almost one million veterans, the Vietnam Veterans of America New York State Council applauds Senator Greg Ball’s efforts to pass this much-needed legislation, and urges the Governor to include, in his final budget, the 5% set-aside he prescribed as a goal in his State of the State address,” said Ned D. Foote, President, Vietnam Veterans of America New York State Council.

    “This bill would do so much for our service-connected disabled veterans. Much hope was given when the Governor promised a 5% set aside in his State of the State. Why did Governor Cuomo promise something to disabled Veterans one day, and forget about it the next? Please Governor Cuomo, I hope this is a misunderstanding and you correct this oversight on behalf of those who gave some and the some who gave all,” said William Nazario, NY State’s Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

    “I am happy the governor is putting New York on a course that will see it – like most other states – establish a target for state contracts awarded to service-disabled, veteran-owned small business. His budget will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the state’s economy, but I worry service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses, such as my own, will not fully feel these positive impacts while the Division of Veterans Affairs conducts its study. Right now, veterans need actions, not studies,” said Tully Rinckey PLLC Founding Partner Mathew B. Tully, who is also a lieutenant colonel in the New York Army National Guard, Purple Heart recipient, and veteran of the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

    “Last Tuesday I attended Senator Ball’s Jobs For Heroes Press Conference in Albany to thank Governor Cuomo for supporting a preference in state contracts for our service-connected disabled veterans. Now a week later, it seems he is going back on his promise, what happened,” said Tracy Griffin, Ladies Auxiliary, VFW Post 5491.

    For more information, please contact jbachmei@nysenate.gov or (845) 531-9796

    ###