SENATE PASSES BILL BENEFITTING SERVICE-DISABLED VETS, OTHER VETS BENEFITS ANNOUNCED
“I’m pleased to announce I voted for, and the Senate has passed, the ‘Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Act’,” said Senator Kemp Hannon (R-Nassau). “The bill will establish a new contract preference ‘set-aside’ for service disabled veterans, providing them with an enormous boost and opening the door to major business opportunities.”
The initiative is more robust than the federal program, which pledges three percent of contracts to businesses of veterans disabled during their service.
“These individuals have sacrificed so much to serve our nation, and we owe them a debt of gratitude that can never be fully repaid,” said Hannon. “We’re sending a message that when our servicemen and women return home, they’ll be better able to compete for state contracts.”
The bill will create a Division of Service-Disabled Veterans’ Business Development within the Office of General Services to facilitate the program, and a six percent state contract set-aside for our service-connected disabled-veteran owned businesses.
The “Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Act” is expected to be approved by the full Legislature and signed into law by Cuomo in the coming days. The measure will allow veterans who were disabled during service to compete for up to $400 million in state contracts. The state has about 900,000 veterans, 600,000 of whom have served during periods of conflict. There are about 106,000 service-connected disabled veterans in New York.
In addition to the above legislation, the Governor has announced initiatives to provide veterans with educational benefits, jobs and home mortgage assistance. At a summit focusing on creating a comprehensive approach to improving services for veterans, the Senate, Assembly and veteran and business owners agreed to the following initiatives:
· Provide In-State Tuition for Veterans at all SUNY and CUNY Colleges and Universities: Under legislation recently introduced, SUNY and CUNY would waive residency requirements for Veterans attending any schools within their systems using the federal G.I. Bill. With tuition set at the lower in-state tuition rates, all tuition costs would be covered by the G.I. Bill.
· Troops-to-Energy Jobs Program: Electric and natural gas facilities agreed to create the first-ever statewide coordinated effort to place Veterans in available jobs in the utilities industry.
· $50 Million Commitment from SONYMA for Homes for Veterans: The State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) pledged $50 million so veterans and military families can obtain a fixed-rate mortgage with an interest rate that is 0.325 percent below the interest rates charged on SONYMA mortgages with down payment assistance. First-time homebuyers who are active duty service members, and honorably discharged Reservists or National Guard members qualify for this program
· Law School Consortium to Provide Legal Assistance to Veterans: Law Schools across the state, including Hofstra University, have joined with New York State to lead an innovative partnership and dialogue to assess how New York State’s 15 Law Schools can best provide legal assistance to the State’s Veterans.
“Our veterans can never be thanked enough, and we owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude,” said Hannon. “These measures will help New York’s veterans realize the dreams they fought so hard to protect.”