By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The Senate passed the “Heroes for Hire” Act unanimously on Tuesday. The “Heroes for Hire” act, HB152, provide tax credits to employers who hire returning veterans and tax credits for returning veterans who start their own business.
According to Senator Whatley’s written statement: “The bill will provide a $1,000 additional tax credit to employers for hiring recently deployed, and now discharged, unemployed veterans. The bill will also provide a $2,000 income tax credit to recently deployed, and now discharged, unemployed veterans who start their own businesses.”
Senator Tom Whatley (R) from Auburn is the bill’s sponsor in the Senate. Sen. Whatley said, “We need to do right by our heroes. These men and women have put their life on the line for our country.” “This bill gives back a fraction of what they have given us.” “During this tough economic time we need to do what we can to encourage Alabama businesses to continue hiring.” “This bill allows for that while simultaneously honoring my commitment to work for our soldiers returning from down range.” Sen. Whatley is hopeful that the recently improving employment situation in the state will continue.
Rep. DuWayne Bridges (R) from Valley was the bill’s sponsor in the Alabama House of Representatives where the bill also passed unanimously. Rep. Bridges said, “Our men and women in uniform have dedicated years of service to this country and made great sacrifices that too often get taken for granted.” “In this tough economy we need to give returning veterans every advantage we can toward landing a job. Our ‘Heroes for Hire’ bill does that by offering significant tax credits for hiring a veteran recently returned from war.” “I want to thank Senator Tom Whatley and Senator Gerald Dial for their help getting this bill passed in the Senate,” Rep. Bridges said. “I also want to thank the members of the Veterans and Military Affairs Committee who work hard to make sure the state takes care of its active duty military personnel and our veterans.”
House Speaker Mike Hubbard thanked Rep. Bridges for his work on the legislation. “Rep. DuWayne Bridges has worked tirelessly to pass this bill, and I applaud his effort,” Speaker Hubbard said. “Those who served on the front lines deserve to go to the front of the line for new jobs.”
The bill now goes to the Governor’s desk for his signature. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said, “I look forward to signing this bill and helping our veterans who have faithfully served their country,” Governor Bentley said. “We must not forget the sacrifices veterans have made, and we encourage employers to remember our veterans as they fill open positions. These men and women have worked hard for this country, and this is one way we can show our appreciation for their service.”
Businesses that hire veterans are being rewarded with a $1000 tax credit under the bill. Veterans returning from the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have much higher unemployment rates than for the population at large. The unemployment rate for Afghanistan and Iraq vets is 12.1% versus 8.7% for non-veterans.
Tax credits decrease the amount of income taxes that a taxpayer pays by that amount while tax deductions simply decrease the amount of taxable income on which the tax rate is calculated.