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Report To The People

Bill Provides Tax Credit For Hiring Veterans

By Tommy Reynolds

I was very pleased to be a co-sponsor of House Bill 33, which provides tax credits to Mississippians to hire veterans, under specific conditions. Over the last several years as the “War on Terror” has progressed, we have seen millions of young Americans entering our Armed Forces and serving in locations around the world in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan and other similar locations. These soldiers have often been grievously injured in the service of our country.  

Upon returning to our country, many of these veterans have had a very difficult time obtaining employment and some have remained unemployed for several years. Unfortunately, there have even been reports of homelessness among certain of our returning veterans.  There is little that is as indefensible of a society as turning its back on those who have fought to preserve it.  

House Bill 33 attempts to provide a tool to encourage the hiring of veterans. The bill provides that if a Mississippi taxpayer em-ploys a person that is a new hire after January 1, 2015, who is an honorably discharged veteran and who has served on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States on or after September 11, 2001, and who has been unemployed for six  consecutive months immediately prior to being employed by the taxpayer, the employer shall be allowed an annual credit against his taxes.

The tax credit for the person hiring the honorably discharged veteran shall be for an annual amount no greater than ten percent (10%) of the annual wages paid to the veteran, or $2,000, whichever is lesser, for each person so employed, for up to five  years. The credit may be claimed by the taxpayer once for each person hired.  

The tax credit may not be claimed for hiring a person whose employment was previously utilized to claim the tax credit. The Bill also provides that tax credit not used in any taxable year may be carried forward for five consecutive years. The total State-wide credit allowed under this provision is limited to one million dollars.  

I am very hopeful that employers around our state will take advantage of this credit for hiring of honorably discharged veterans and, if it is a success, that the program will be extended and increased in its scope and effectiveness. 

The highlight of the closing days of this year’s legislative session was the graduation of Mississippi Highway Patrol Trooper Class 61 on Thursday, March 26. I strongly supported a bill during the 2014 session to provide an appropriation supporting creation of this trooper class.

As I’m sure you’ll remember, counties in our area were suffering from a severe shortage of highway patrol coverage due to the shortage of officers. There had been a great number of retirements in the highway patrol and a large portion of the membership eligible for eminent retirement. I was proud to see these 48 courageous and dedicated young people enter the force. They will certainly be welcomed by all motorists who find themselves in trouble on the highways.  

Please feel free to contact me at 1720 N Main St., Water Valley, MS 38965, by email at thomasureynolds@bellsouth.net or by phone at (662) 473-2571.  

I look forward to hearing from you on any issue that you may have.

 

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