O’Ban bill takes aim at veteran unemployment

JBLMLegislators are working long hours to hear public input on the Senate’s recent no new taxes budget. Included in the budget is Senate Bill 5042 sponsored by Sen. Steve O’Ban, R- Pierce County, which provides tax relief to small businesses that hire veterans. The bill was approved by the Senate Ways & Means Committee Wednesday night and now moves to the Rules Committee waiting for a full vote in the Senate.

“Although our state is seeing some improvement in reducing unemployment, veterans still face significant challenges,” said O’Ban. “Veteran unemployment is still higher than the rest of the workforce and we need creative solutions to boost employment. Our veterans have so many skills to offer and hopefully this legislation will connect the dots for employers.”

According to the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, Washington State unemployment for post-9/11 era veterans is 11.4 percent. Other veteran advocacy groups note the rate is much higher for young veterans, as much as 41 percent for veterans between ages 18 and 34 nationwide.

“I have been focused on making sure our servicemen and women have access to the resources they need,” said O’Ban. “Whether that’s providing college credit for military training or increasing access to employment opportunities, we owe it to our veterans to help them transition into civilian life. They have so much to offer our communities as civilians and I will continue to make sure they are a priority for the Legislature.”