New Schumer Study: 41% Of Upstate Activated Reservist Families Suffer Economic Hardship Senator Unveils Plan To Fix Pay Gap, Address Latest Recruitment Problems
New Standing With Our Troops Tax Credits Would Encourage Employers to Keep Paying Reservists Salary While Serving Overseas; Could Help With Recruitment ProblemsArmy Recently Announced Major Recruitment Shortages for Active Duty and Reserves Enlistments--New Bill Could Alleviate Problem By Addressing Troops Economic Hardship
Schumer Details How Many Reservists In Each County
In light of recruitment shortages just announced by Defense Department Officials, US Senator Charles E. Schumer today unveiled new data showing nearly half of all New York activated reservist families are losing significant amounts of income while serving. Schumer also announced a new Standing With Our Troops Tax Credit plan to give up to $15,000 tax breaks to employers who pay the salaries of activated reservists while the reservists are abroad fighting the War on Terror which would cut the financial drain on reservist families.
Its a shame for those in service. Reservists give up everything normal in their lives to fly halfway around the world to fight terror, only to take a huge hit in income back at home, Schumer said. If a reservist bought a house at his old salary and his wife and kids are still living in it, no bank is going to cut his mortgage 60% just because thats the salary hit hes taking to do his duty. We need to step up to the plate to help companies keep the jobs and paychecks coming until the reservists come back home to us.
Late last week, US Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey announced activeduty Army was 27 percent below its recruiting goal of 7,050. According to the Government Accounting Office, The Army Reserve and Army National Guard are 13 and 20 percent of below their overall recruiting goals, respectively.
Schumers new study uses the latest troop data available from the Pentagons Defense Manpower Data Center (as of December 1, 2004) and finds that more than 7,400 New Yorkers, are currently in activated status in the National Guard and Reserves. While these personnel are away from home fighting the War on Terror, their families often have trouble making ends meet. When reservists are activated, they receive the same pay as active duty military, except in very rare circumstances. However, military pay is determined by a combination of rank and experience, so different reservists are paid different amounts. In 2004, active duty enlisted military personnel paygrades started at $27,013 and officers paygrade started at $41,856, according to the Uniformed Services Almanac. For 2005, pay rates will be about 3.5% higher.
These figures do not include combat and other special pay. For a soldier serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, they could get on a monthly basis $225 in hostile fire pay, $250 in family separation pay if they have dependents, $100 in hardship pay in some cases, and a $105 in per diems. All told, soldiers could be getting $680 a month on top of the figures above.
But data from the nonpartisan and independent federal Government Accountability Office finds 41 percent of National Guard and Reserve drilling unit members reported income loss during past military operations, and senior officers in the reserve component reported average losses of $5,000 in income. For our troops, this loss in pay leaves great strains on the homefront. Troops are forced to devote attention to whether their families can pay the bills, which diverts attention away from their mission. Families that are struggling with emotional strain of a spouse and parent being away and in harms way also must deal with the financial strain of lost income.
In some cases, businesses who employ these reservists will continue to pay the difference between activated members civilian salary and their military salary. Schumer said today these employers are true patriots because this sacrifice can end up an expensive endeavor for small businesses especially with the nowfrequent extensions of tours of duty. In addition, small business employers often have a difficult time finding temporary workers to fill while the reservists are serving, since the new employees know that the reservists can come back to claim their old jobs.
Schumer today released a new analysis showing how many New York military reservist families are suffering deep economic hardship while breadwinners serve in Iraq:
ï¿½ In the Capital Region, an estimated 325 families are losing income because of a reservists service overseas.
ï¿½ In Central New York, an estimated 145 families are losing income because of a reservists service overseas.
ï¿½ In the Rochester/Finger Lakes Region, an estimated 182 families are losing income because of a reservists service overseas.
ï¿½ In the Hudson Valley, an estimated 447 families are losing income because of a reservists service overseas.
ï¿½ In the North Country, an estimated 166 families are losing income because of a reservists service overseas.
ï¿½ In the Southern Tier, an estimated 75 families are losing income because of a reservists service overseas.
ï¿½ In Western New York, an estimated 313 families are losing income because of a reservists service overseas.
Schumer today also detailed proposed legislation which includes provisions to boost income security for the families of New Yorks reservists currently serving active duty and to encourage more of their small business employers to pay the income difference while they serve. Also known as S. 11, the Standing With Our Troops Act was the very first bill introduced by the Democrats in the Congress. It will:
" Create federal tax credits for employers to make up for 50% of the reservists pay gap. Standing With Our Troops would provide a tax credit worth 50% of the salaries that employers are continuing to pay activated Guard and Reserve employees to make up for the income gap the reservists suffer while abroad. The tax credit would be applied on the companys federal income taxes and would be worth up to $15,000 per employee. It is designed to reward patriotic employers who keep paying these salaries and encourage more employers to do so.
" Create federal tax credits to help small business owners and manufacturers hire temporary workers: Standing With Our Troops would also provide a $6,000 federal tax credit to help small businesses hire temporary workers to fillin for activated employees and a separate $10,000 credit for small manufacturers to hire temporary workers.
The War on Terror is unlike any other war were ever fought, and were fighting it with a military unlike any weve ever had. Our military is more effective than ever not only because our men and women in uniform are better trained, and because so many of them are reservists who are so deeply committed to serving their country that they will balance burdens on the home front. That commitment shouldnt penalized and we need to crate a way to help them keep their obligations at home, Schumer said.
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