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(Washington, DC)- U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced two pieces of legislation today to  bolster economic opportunities for our nation’s veterans and small businesses. The Veterans Hiring Act and the Veterans Entrepreneurship Act, will create simple, immediate tax incentives for businesses that hire veterans and lower costs for veterans looking to start or grow small businesses.

“Our men and women in uniform have sacrificed in the defense of the United States,” Shaheen said. “One of the best things we can do to honor that service is make sure they have good-paying, quality jobs when they come home. The skills developed through military training and service are the same qualities that make great employees and entrepreneurs. We can do more to help during the transition process, and these two pieces of legislation will go a long way toward helping veterans, small businesses, and our economy.”

“We also need to make it easier to access the programs we already have,” Shaheen added. “Despite making up fourteen percent of our military and owning thirty percent of our small businesses, only four percent of veteran-owned small business are run by women. We need to do better. This bill will make important progress in filling in some of the gaps in our current programs.”

The Veterans Hiring Act would cut payroll taxes for businesses that hire veterans, which would create immediate hiring incentives for employers. By lowering the cost of adding new employees, the bill will make it easier for small businesses to take advantage of veterans hiring incentives, expand their operations and help grow the economy. 

The Veterans Entrepreneurship Act would lower the cost of Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs designed to assist veterans start their own small businesses. The bill would permanently eliminate fee waivers  for veterans applying for SBA Express loans and also improve current SBA programs designed to assist veterans by focusing on pre-deployment financial counseling and emergency assistance. The legislation also includes a provision requiring the Small Business Administration to identify ways to improve its outreach and services for female veterans, particularly through the SBA’s Women Business Centers and Veteran Business Outreach Centers.   

The unemployment rate for U.S. Iraq and Afghanistan veterans stands at 9 percent, 2.3 percent higher than the national average. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senate Appropriations Committee, Shaheen has made promoting veteran employment a top priority. Shaheen has also worked to promote veterans employment by visiting veteran-owned businesses and businesses that hire veterans throughout New Hampshire.