Monday, October 28, 2013

Will Congress Let Tax Credit Expire For Employers Who Hire Veterans?

As I recently reported here, Congress is once again trying to give America's heroes the shaft. Congressional Republicans, led by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and some Democrats want to change how inflation is calculated by adopting a so-called “chained consumer price index," or Chained CPI. This would mean lower benefits for more than 3 million veterans, including those who were seriously wounded in combat. 

America's disabled veterans already face an insultingly small 1.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) next year - the smallest increase since these automatic adjustments were adopted nearly 40 years ago. 

As if all that weren’t enough of an insult, word from inside the Beltway is that the federal tax credit that offers companies real incentives to hire veterans is about to expire. And Congress has done nothing about it - at least not yet.

Back in 2011, President Obama proposed a "Returning Heroes Tax Credit" for companies that hire unemployed veterans. "Our companies need skilled workers like our veterans to grow, and there's no reason why we can't connect the two," he said at the time.

But the tax credit, which gives companies up to $9,600 for hiring a veteran, is set to expire at the end of the year. 

President Obama called for the credit to become permanent as part of his proposed 2014 budget. But as everyone is painfully aware, Congress hasn't passed a comprehensive budget since 2009. 

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn), a former Marine, today announced his plans to introduce a bill in the next few weeks that extends the tax credit until the end of 2016.

The veteran unemployment rate has been on a roller coaster ride in the first four months of 2013, moving from 7.6% to 6.9% to 7.1% to 6.2%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

But the most significant and alarming fact is that unemployment among post-9/11 veterans was 10.1% in September, up from 10% in August and 9.7% the year prior, according to BLS.

The tax credit extension to companies who hire out-of-work veterans is a no-brainer. Congress needs to step up and meet its collective word to take care of our former warriors. I’ll be keeping a close eye on any member of Congress who opposes this much-needed legislation, and will name names.

And I suggest that pols on either side of the aisle who are trying to lower the already absurdly low cost-of-living benefits increase for our wounded warriors just step off. It’s a bad idea.

This all reminds me of a story I covered last year for The Daily Beast about a Senator who held up veterans' benefits in order to stage a cynical and lame political stunt. 

The then-unidentified pol, who I've since learned is Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, opted to place a secret hold, for months, on a routine bill for a COLA increase for military veterans and surviving spouses. 

My message to him and other members of Congress? Stop messing with America's heroes!

1 comment:

  1. hey nice post meh, You are one of the best writers I've seen of recent. I love your style of blogging here. this post reminds me of an equally interesting post that I read some time ago on Daniel Uyi's blog: Self-Improvement For Year End .
    keep up the good work friend. I will be back to read more of your posts.