Today, at Lufkin-RMT in Wellsville, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer visited the facility and announced his plan to prioritize the extension of The Returning Heroes and Wounded Warriors Tax Credits, which are proven successes in incentivizing companies to hire veterans and are set to expire at the end of this year. Schumer applauded Lufkin-RMT's goal to hire more veterans and urged other Allegany County businesses to similarly seek to hire these highly skilled workers that often fall through the cracks when returning home to civilian employment. The Returning Heroes and Wounded Warriors Tax Credits, enacted in November 2011, provide tax credits to businesses 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. Schumer fought to include these critical tax credits in the Senate tax extenders package to be considered before year's end. Lufkin-RMT currently employs nine veterans and these federal tax credits would allow them to achieve their goal to hire more veterans in the future.
"These vital tax credits are proven successes in helping Allegany County businesses to hire more veterans, and we cannot allow such a powerful antidote to the economic recession come to an end," said Schumer. "The Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits are set to expire at year's end, which would be a devastating blow to the efforts of companies like Lufkin-RMT that want to get unemployed veterans in the region back to work. Renewing the veterans' tax credits isn't just the smart thing to do for companies and organizations in the Southern Tier and across the country, it's the right thing to do to honor the sacrifices made by our heroes in uniform. Our veterans have spent months and even years of their lives protecting our freedom, and I am going to fight to renew these tax breaks so that veterans don't spend the same amount of time in the unemployment line."
Schumer was joined by Gretchen Hanchett, President of the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce; John Mulryan, General Manager of Lufkin-RMT; Joe Hart, Sales Manager of Lufkin-RMT; Wellsville Mayor Judy Lynch, Allegany County Administrator John Margeson, County Legislative Chairman Curtis Crandall and representatives of local small businesses as he launched his push to allow Upstate New York businesses to hire more veterans in the near future.
Lufkin-RMT, currently employs veterans and hopes to hire many more in the future as it is doubling in size with a brand new state-of-the-art Wellsville facility. Though headquartered in Texas, the company's power transmission bearing stalwart is located in Wellsville. Any new veterans who are hired at the company next year due to the extension of the Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits will be in a strong position to build careers.
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 the series of tax credits for businesses that hire out-of-work veterans. As a result of the tax break, 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 each veteran hired. Businesses that hire a veteran who has been looking for a job for at least six months would receive a tax credit worth up to $5,600. If a company hires a veteran with a service-connected disability who has been seeking work for at least six months, that business would be eligible for tax credits worth up to $9,600. While tax-exempt organizations save a slightly smaller percentage, a non-profit company can still save up to $6,240 if they hire a disabled veteran who has been unemployed for six months or more.
Schumer pushed to extend the Returning Heroes and Wounded Warriors Tax Credit in light of disappointing unemployment numbers for veterans, particularly in Upstate New York. Allegany County alone has 182 unemployed veterans, while the Southern Tier Region has 2,015, 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. Unemployment among New York's veteran population, particularly younger veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has remained stubbornly high over the last several years. Last year, the veteran population in the United States consisted of 20.2 million men and 1.8 million women, accounting for about 9.5 percent of the adult population in the country. 2.2 million of those veterans served after September 11, 2011, and two thirds of that total were under 35 years old. Unemployment among veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan has risen to 12.1 percent nationally, up from 10.6 percent from a year ago. 240,000 young veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are unemployed nationwide. An astonishing 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.