Sen. Steve O’Ban has authored a new law that would both cut taxes for businesses and create employment opportunities for veterans in the state’s two-year operating budget. Sen. O’Ban conceived of the idea and sponsored Senate Bill 5042 that provides a business and occupation tax credit for businesses that hire veterans. Sen. O’Ban’s bill will be incorporated into Senate Bill 6052, which consolidates the tax preferences agreed to by both parties as part of the final operating budget.
“The new law is a win first for veterans transitioning out of the military and for small businesses which may want to hire them,” said O’Ban, R-Pierce County, whose district includes Joint Base Lewis-McChord. “We have significant numbers of veterans separating from service and we want them to stay and continue to contribute their valuable skills and work ethic to our communities. This bill is meant to help address already high veteran unemployment and give small businesses critical tax relief.”
Washington State unemployment for post-9/11 era veterans is 11.4 percent according to the Congressional Joint Economic Committee and 6.4 percent for veterans overall, about one percent higher than the civilian workforce. Unemployment is starkly higher for young veterans, as much as 17 percent for veterans between ages 18 and 24 nationwide according to veteran advocacy groups.
“This kind of incentive will be critical as the military downsizes and service members from JBLM hopefully look for work in our area,” O’Ban said. “I issued a statement earlier this month noting that we must do all we can to support our veterans in the event that we lose up to 11,000 active duty jobs at the base. This policy makes veteran hiring a priority.”
The tax credit in the budget is for twenty percent of wages and benefits, up to $1,500 for each position filled by an unemployed veteran.