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Contact: Adam Joseph

January 29, 2016

Senate Democrats Propose Bill to Support Veteran-Owned Small Businesses

Bill seeks to give veteran-owned small businesses additional bidding preference and tax break

Senate Democrats today announced their plans to give additional support to veteran-owned small businesses. The proposed bill would give veteran-owned businesses additional bidding preferences under state contracting laws and waive the first year’s business entity tax for start-up veteran-owned businesses.

“Our veterans answered the call of duty, and when they return home to Connecticut to start a business the state should be there to lend a helping hand,” said Senate President Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven). “Our proposal will make it easier for veterans to start a business and grow a business here in Connecticut.”

“Giving veteran-owned small businesses additional preference under state contracting laws and waiving their first year’s business entity tax is the right thing to do,” said Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk). “Retaining and attracting veteran-owned businesses is a priority for the Senate Democrats as part of our larger commitment to those who served our nation.”

“As a state, we have an obligation to support those who have served our country and sacrificed so much to allow all of us to live our lives in freedom,” said Sen. Mae Flexer (D-Killingly) Senate Chair of the Veterans’ Committee. “Connecticut has led the way by providing major tax breaks for retired veterans and reducing chronic veteran homelessness to nearly zero. This bill is another step to fulfilling our commitment to our veterans.”

Currently, when the state determines the lowest responsible qualified bidder for a state contract, it is allowed to give a 10 percent price preference for “micro-businesses”—which are businesses defined gross revenues not exceeding $3 million. The Senate Democrats’ proposal would increase the allowable preference for veteran-owned micro-businesses to 15 percent. To qualify for veteran-owned status, 51 percent of the ownership of a business would have to be held by an honorably discharged veteran.

The Senate Democrats’ proposal would also abolish the first year’s business entity tax bill of $250 for start-up veteran-owned businesses.

“The Chamber was founded on the principle of helping military veterans coming out of service to start their own businesses,” said Michael J. Zacchea, Lt. Col. USMC (ret.), founder and board member of the Connecticut Veterans Chamber of Commerce. “We wanted to help veterans reintegrate into civilian life, and one way to do so is by lowering barriers to entry for new businesses. A preference for veteran-owned micro-businesses and a waiver of the business entity tax for newly-registered veteran-owned businesses in Connecticut would go a long way toward helping veterans. Additionally, we believe it would help stimulate the economy, recognize the importance of the veteran workforce, and provide a return on the state’s investment in hard-working, entrepreneurial veterans.”

“The Chamber is grateful to Senate leadership for its support of this initiative, which is vital to our members,” said Andrew S. DiSilvestro Jr., executive vice president of the Chamber and owner/founder of Grade A Home Improvement LLC. “We represent a number of members, and we give a voice to the more than 40,000 veteran-owned businesses in the state that are working hard every day to grow their businesses and contribute to the state’s economy.”


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