12.16.15

SCHUMER SECURES MAJOR VICTORY FOR UPSTATE NY VETERANS & BUSINESSES; SAYS TAX EXTENDERS PACKAGE WILL INCLUDES INCENTIVES FOR BUSINESSES TO HIRE UNEMPLOYED VETERANS IN UPSTATE NY – PROVISION IS A PROVEN SUCCESS IN HELPING UPSTATE BUSINESSES HIRE MORE VETERANS

Schumer Pushed To Include A Tax Credit to Boost Veteran Employment in Must-Pass Legislation; Urged Colleagues To Reauthorize And Extend Through 2019 The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), Which Incentivizes Employers to Hire Unemployed Veterans

Schumer Says Boosting Job Market for Unemployed Veterans Is The Right Thing To Do To Honor The Sacrifices Made By Our Heroes In Uniform

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that a number of vital tax benefits for New Yorkers were included in the Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes Act of 2015, known as the “tax extenders,” bill. The tax extenders bill would reauthorize and extend through 2019 the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), which is a tax credit that employers can claim for hiring veterans who have been unemployed for an extended period of time or are receiving VA disability compensation or food stamps. Schumer explained that this tax credit – which expired January 1, 2015 – has provided critical incentives to businesses for hiring veterans, thereby giving companies across NY State access to qualified employees while also providing them a financial return on their commitment to hiring veterans. In addition, the WOTC has opened up more job opportunities to veterans who have returned home from duty and are struggling to find work by encouraging employers looking to hire veterans with incentives to do so.

“This vital tax credit has proven successful in helping businesses across New York State hire more veterans – which is why I fought hard to reinstate this powerful antidote to the all-too-high veteran unemployment rate. Our veterans spend years of their lives protecting the freedoms we hold dear, and we must do everything in our power to keep them working and off the unemployment line,” said Schumer. “I am urging my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers of Congress to vote for this bill so we can send this to the President’s desk. Passing the WOTC incentive for hiring veterans isn’t just the smart thing to do for our NY State companies looking to utilize the unique skills and talents of our veterans, it is the right thing to do to honor the sacrifices made by our heroes in uniform.”

Schumer explained that the WOTC is a tax incentive provided to employers who hire qualified veterans who have been out of work. In cases where the eligible hire has worked at least 400 hours in the first year, the employer can earn a credit equal to 40 percent of the wages paid to that veteran up to certain limits. However, Schumer said this credit was allowed to expire in Congress this year – as of January 1, 2015 – despite the fact that its benefits have helped thousands of veterans find jobs.

According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for veterans in New York was 5.8 in 2014, which is 23,000 unemployed veterans across New York. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 541,295 veterans in Upstate NY, of which, an annual average of 15,776 were unemployed between 2010 through 2014. Separate 2014 data found that there were 8,759 unemployed veterans in upstate NY in 2014.

Schumer explained that, in the past, the WOTC has expired and then has been retroactively reauthorized along with other tax provisions (“tax extenders”). Congress let it lapse as of December 31, 2014 and has since failed to reauthorize it – meaning businesses across NY State and the country cannot take advantage of this tax incentive for 2015. ?Extending this incentive over five years will give employers a dependable incentive to hire veterans. Schumer said this is a program that not only helps eligible veterans find work upon returning home, but also helps companies tap into the unique skills and qualifications of veterans as a means of improving their businesses and bottom lines. The more a business pays a worker, and the longer a business has a worker on its payroll, the greater the tax benefit. Therefore, this provides an incentive to hire veterans sooner, and pay them more – something Schumer calls a “win” for both veterans and businesses.

That is why Schumer urged his colleagues in Congress to reauthorize the expired WOTC as part of the tax extenders deal that is currently moving through Congress. Schumer said the current deal would provide a two-year extension to the WOTC. The criteria and credit amounts are:

  • A maximum credit of $2,400 for hiring a veteran who has been unemployed for a total of at least four weeks but less than six months in the year prior to hire;
  • A maximum credit of $5,600 for hiring a veteran who had been unemployed for a total of at least six months in the year prior to hire;
  • A maximum credit of $2,400 for hiring a veteran who was receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP; formerly food stamps) benefits for at least three months during the year prior to hire;
  • A maximum credit of $4,800 for hiring a veteran who was eligible for disability compensation from the VA and was within one year of discharge or release from military duty; and
  • A maximum credit of $9,600 for hiring a veteran who was eligible for disability compensation from the VA and who had been unemployed for a total of six months in the year prior to hire.

Schumer said the WOTC is currently part of the larger package of expired tax provisions, set to be voted on before the end of the legislative session. Schumer highlighted the number of unemployed veterans per region in Upstate NY as evidence that this tax credit will help many of the veterans currently struggling to find employment:

  • In the Capital Region, there were an annual average of 2,478 unemployed veterans between 2010 and 2014, and 1,022 unemployed veterans in 2014 yearly data.
  • In Central NY, there were an annual average of 2,422 unemployed veterans between 2010 and 2014, and 1,739 unemployed veterans in 2014 yearly data.
  • In Western NY, there were an annual average of 2,791 unemployed veterans between 2010 and 2014, and 1,913 unemployed veterans in 2014 yearly data.
  • In the Rochester-Finger Lakes, there were an annual average of 1,908 unemployed veterans between 2010 and 2014, and 787 unemployed veterans in 2014 yearly data.
  • In the Southern Tier, there were an annual average of 1,969 unemployed veterans between 2010 and 2014, and 430 unemployed veterans in 2014 yearly data.
  • In the Hudson Valley, there were an annual average of 2,684 unemployed veterans between 2010 and 2014, and 1,635 unemployed veterans in 2014 yearly data.
  • In the North Country, there were an annual average of 1,524 unemployed veterans between 2010 and 2014, and 1,233 unemployed veterans in 2014 yearly data.

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