Schumer Launches Campaign to Help Vets and Businesses

By Haley Burton

November 20, 2012 Updated Nov 20, 2012 at 7:24 PM EDT

Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) There are more than 2,000 unemployed veterans in the Southern Tier.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer launches a campaign to save tax credits for businesses that hire veterans.

Senator Schumer visited Sanmina-SCI on Tuesday. The company currently employs 22 veterans.

Schumer says it is his plan to prioritize the extension of the Returning Heroes and Wounded Warriors Tax Credits. They give incentives to businesses who hire veterans. The tax credits are set to expire by December 31, 2012.

"To have our veterans come home after risking their lives for us, after serving their country. Many of them are National Guard men and women and reservists, so they leave their families and their jobs to go over there. To go over there and come back and not find a job is very wrong," Schumer said.

Schumer says the credits are a proven success and give companies like Sanmina-SCI up to $9,600 per veteran that they hire.

Schumer also says hiring a veteran not only benefits a company monetarily with the tax credits but also with the skill set veterans bring to the workforce.

"Veterans are great people to hire. Why? First, many of them have specific skills. If you're a health care company, there's no one better to hire than a medic. If you're a manufacturing company, there's no one better to hire than somebody who worked on a tank," said Schumer, "They know teamwork. They know hard work. They know sacrifice, courage and they know that following an order as a part of a team is very important for the overall good of their unit."

Mark Gable, Vice President and General Manager of Sanmina-SCI, says the company hopes to hire nearly 60 more veterans in the near future for manufacturing, logistics and engineering jobs.

"It's important to us because it brings value to the company. At the same time, we are able to hire employees from the local community that also come with skill sets that are easily adapted to our industry here in Owego," said Gable.

Schumer says he will fight to not left the tax credits fall through the cracks on Capitol Hill by the end of the year.

The Returning Heroes and Wounded Warriors Tax Credits, enacted in November 2011, provide tax breaks to employers of up to $9,600 depending on the length of time a veteran has been unemployed and if that veteran has a service-connected disability.

“These vital tax credits are proven successes in helping Tioga County businesses to hire more veterans, and we cannot allow such a powerful antidote to the economic recession come to an end,” said Schumer. “Given that Sanmina-SCI would like to hire 60 vets in the near future, in fields ranging from computer technicians to manufacturing operators, they could save over $576,000 should the tax credits be extended," said Schumer.

President Obama signed the Returning Heroes and Wounded Warriors Tax Credits into law on November 21, 2011 as part of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which contained a series of tax credits for businesses that hire out-of-work veterans.

Businesses that hire veterans who have been searching for work for at least four weeks, but less than six months, are eligible for a tax credit of up to $2,400 per veteran hired. Businesses that hire a veteran who has been looking for a job for at least six months receive a tax credit worth up to $5,600. A business that hires a veteran who has been seeking work for at least six months and has a service-related disability is eligible for a $9,600 tax credit.

Schumer says Tioga County has 206 unemployed veterans and Broome County has 573. These numbers are according to New York State Department of Labor’s most recent data from 2010.

According to the state’s data, there are 16,846 unemployed veterans in upstate New York as a whole. 21.9 percent of male veterans aged 18-24 who have served since September 11th were unemployed last year, according to data recently released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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