Senator Kennedy cosponsored bill to help veteran-owned businesses gain access to state contracts.
Recent estimates have indicated that approximately 1,000 veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan were unemployed in WNY.
ALBANY, N.Y. – Senator Tim Kennedy, D-Buffalo, announced the New York State Senate today passed the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Act, which will provide veteran-owned businesses with increased access to state contracts. Senator Kennedy cosponsored this legislation (S.6865) to help level the playing field for veterans who are competing with much larger operations to secure state business.
The legislation will help veterans secure more state business by directing at least six percent of state contracts to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. This legislation will make New York a national leader, as it will double the federal government’s goal of awarding three percent of contracts to veteran-owned businesses. This comprehensive legislation will also establish a Division of Service-Disabled Veterans’ Business Development in the state Office of General Services, which will oversee this new program. This new division will facilitate efforts among state agencies to increase opportunities for veterans to do business with the state.
“New York’s veterans sacrifice so much to serve our nation; and when they return home, it is our duty to serve them and their families,” Kennedy said. “By awarding six percent of state contracts to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, we will level the playing field and help our state’s courageous veterans take advantage of state business. Our veterans deserve this opportunity. We cannot thank these brave men and women enough for everything they’ve done for our nation, our community and our families. But we can start by passing important legislation like this to give them access to more state business opportunities.”
In outlining the need for this new legislation, Kennedy pointed to troubling unemployment statistics among veterans. The unemployment rate for veterans who have served since 2001 still stands at 9 percent, considerably higher than the unemployment rate for the rest of the population at 6.7 percent. America’s newest veterans, those aged 18 to 24, are experiencing an incredibly high unemployment rate of 21.4 percent.
“A few years back, it was estimated that about 1,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, who made the sacrifice to leave their families in order to defend our freedom, were forced to endure the struggle of unemployment upon their return home to Western New York,” Kennedy said. “With unacceptable statistics like these, action remains absolutely necessary. We must do all we can to support our veterans.”
Senator Kennedy believes this legislation, along with recently-enacted tax credits to encourage the hiring of veterans, will help New York State lower its unemployment rate among veterans, and help veterans successfully rejoin the workforce.
An agreement to pass the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Act through the Legislature and have it signed into law was announced last week.
Senator Timothy M. Kennedy represents the New York State Senate’s 63rd District, which is comprised of the towns of Cheektowaga, the city of Lackawanna and nearly all of the city of Buffalo. More information is available at http://kennedy.nysenate.gov.
View Senator Kennedy's remarks on the Senate floor here: http://youtu.be/DQfpa_5nF6g