House Bill Helps Veterans Find Work

In photo, from left: State Reps. Bobby Outten, Jack Peterman, Dave Wilson & Harvey Kenton; State Sen. Dave Lawson; State Reps. Ruth Briggs King & Debra Heffernan.

Delaware House of Representatives

A proposal unveiled earlier this week seeks to give employers an incentive to hire military veterans returning from combat theaters.

House Bill 275, sponsored by a broad bipartisan coalition of state legislators, would create the “Veterans Opportunity Tax Credit.” Companies would receive a maximum $1,500 annual tax credit, for a period of three years, for each qualifying veteran they hire.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday to unveil the measure, State Rep. Harvey Kenton, R-Milford, a U.S. Navy veteran, said he could identify with those military men and women who must re-acclimate to civilian life after having served their country. Rep. Kenton, a co-sponsor of the bill, was quick to note that all 14 of his colleagues in the House Minority Caucus were also sponsoring the legislation.

According to information supplied by Gov. Jack Markell’s office, while veterans traditionally have an unemployment rate below the national average, that has not been the case in recent years. In fact, returning veterans have been unemployed at a higher rate than the general population.

“We know veterans have a lot of skills that employers value: they are disciplined, willing to work and take responsibility,” said Sen. George H. Bunting Jr., D-Bethany Beach, who is a decorated Marine veteran and the bill’s lead Senate sponsor. “This incentive might give an employer the nudge they need to help our returning veterans land on their feet with a good job.”

The bill is expected to be win swift approval in the General Assembly and to be signed into law by Gov. Jack Markell, who is backing the measure.