In an effort to reduce the high unemployment rate among returning service men and women, the Illinois General Assembly has passed a bill that provides a tax incentive for Illinois employers who hire a qualified unemployed veteran.
Senate Bill 3241, an initiative of Gov. Pat Quinn, was advanced by the Senate May 29, and now waits for his signature.
State senators Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) and Chris Lauzen (R-Aurora) were among the bill's 13 sponsors in the Senate.
“I enjoy working with Gov. Quinn on issues to improve the lives of veterans and their families,” Dillard said in a prepared statement. “We need to make employment of Illinois veterans a priority in Illinois. It’s disgraceful that members of our Armed Forces risk their lives in service to their country, yet far too many men and women return after their tour of duty and are unable to find a job.”
The measure also allows a county or municipality to abate property taxes on the residence of a surviving spouse of a soldier who dies while on active duty in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Under the job-hiring part of the bill, a tax credit of up to $5,000 would be available to employers who hire a qualified veteran who had been unemployed for an aggregate of four weeks or more during the year before his or her date of hire. The tax credit for new hires will be equivalent to 20 percent of the unemployed veteran’s gross wages during the tax year, not to exceed $5,000. As a continuation of current law, employers who continue to employ a veteran can collect a credit equal to 10 percent of the gross wages paid to the veteran, not to exceed $1,200.
“The unemployment rate among returning soldiers persists in exceeding the already high unemployment rate in Illinois and across the nation. Veterans are the kind of employees that businesses want—workers who have leadership experience, a great work ethic and interpersonal skills,” Dillard said.
Qualified veterans include those who are members of the U.S. Armed Forces, Illinois National Guard, or who are a member of any reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces, and who served on active duty in connection with Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom.