On Monday afternoon, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed Senator Greg Ball's (R, C, I – Patterson) legislation to facilitate the awarding of state contracts to disabled veterans.
The "Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Act" (S6865/A9135) will ensure New York State's service-connected disabled veterans are able to compete for upwards of $400 million in state contracts.
The program will create a 6% state contract set aside for service-connected disabled veteran owned small businesses. The set aside is very similar to the highly successful 3% preference that the federal government offers.
Senator Greg Ball, Chairman of the Senate Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee, hosted a series of roundtables, hearings, press conference and events over the past three years to rally grassroots support for the set aside.
"This single act will do more to reverse the high veteran unemployment rate than anything else we have done, or will do. Yet beyond just creating jobs, this is about saving lives, and confronting the epidemic of veteran suicide through meaningful employment. We have been fighting to establish this set aside for years and I want to sincerely thank Governor Cuomo for his support and for keeping his commitment to our heroes," said Senator Greg Ball. "Let it be clear that this is not a handout; this is an opportunity for both employee and employer. These men and women have the exact skill sets we need in the workplace and the integrity we desperately need in the board room. The same attributes that make these people so vital to defending our freedoms are the same hard earned intangibles that make them exceptional at running their businesses and creating jobs. This is what good people can accomplish when they forget the politics and just focus on doing the right thing. Bravo to all involved, bravo!"
"Today New York is taking our commitment to honor the service and sacrifice of the disabled veterans who serve our state and nation to a higher level," Governor Cuomo said. "This new law sets an ambitious and aggressive goal to make businesses owned by disabled veterans a more active part of state contracting and gives our heroes the recognition that they truly deserve. We are proud to lead every state in the nation with this ambitious program and by doing so, continue New York's undaunted pursuit of greater fairness. I commend the members of the Legislature who worked so hard on this new law."
Senate Co-Leader Dean G. Skelos said, "By signing this legislation, Governor Cuomo allows New York State to take an extraordinary step forward, providing our heroes with the benefits, support and economic opportunities they need and deserve. I commend Senator Ball, a leading voice for veterans all across this state, for his tireless and unrelenting work on this issue."
"The enactment of this Veterans Contract program today, with its precedent setting goal of giving 6% of state contracts to service disabled veterans, will let New York's military personnel know that the sacrifices and contributions they made for our safety at home are recognized and appreciated. Giving our veterans increased economic opportunities as they make the transition back to civilian life is one way we can repay our debt of gratitude to them. For these brave men and women who have returned home with same the spirit they so admirably carried in active duty, we can and should encourage their interest in running their own small businesses. Our veterans deserve this contract preference and I am proud to have been a sponsor of this legislation," said Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz.
"With this important legislation, New York is once again taking the lead in giving veteran-owned businesses the opportunity to compete and grow," said Lawrence Doll, chairman and founder of Drexel Hamilton and a service-disabled United States Marine Corps veteran. "Governor Cuomo, Senator Ball, Assemblyman Ortiz and all of our elected leaders who championed this effort have the gratitude of the thousands of New York veterans who are simply looking for the chance to prove their capabilities and translate them into success in meaningful civilian careers."
Eugene Parrotta, Chairman of Senator Greg Ball's Veterans Advisory Council and two- time Purple Heart recipient, said, "I am very happy that this legislation has finally been approved. It was a long time in coming, but with a forceful array of supporters on both sides it is now law. It has been my experience in dealing with disabled veterans that there was a feeling of disbelief that New York State did not have this law on the books already. As the state with the most military, most wounded and the most killed in action since this country was founded, a great wrong has been righted. I would like to extend a very heartfelt thank you to Governor Cuomo and all the elected officials, especially Senator Ball, for all the hard work."
Bill Nelson, former CEO of HBO and Yorktown resident, said, "With Governor Cuomo signing the Service-disabled Veterans Business Act today, he has shown himself to be a true patriot and leader who understands the selfless sacrifice made by New York's service-disabled veterans and their families. This nation leading legislation assists those NYS disabled veterans in expanding their existing businesses or starting new ones, all of which allows them to have meaningful jobs and provide for themselves and their families. Every NYS citizen should commend the Governor, the NYS Senate members, especially Senator Ball who has tirelessly pushed for this legislation for several years, and the NYS Assembly members who supported the passage of this Act."
"New York State spends billions each year on goods and services. This six percent set-aside will make sure that money stays right here in the empire state, supporting service disabled veterans and encouraging investment in small businesses," said Tully Rinckey PLLC Managing Partner Greg T. Rinckey, Esq. "It will open up additional opportunities that were previously just out of reach for Tully Rinckey PLLC and other SDVOSB's like us. Other states, as well as those at the federal level, should take a hard look at what New York State is doing for veterans and small businesses."
"The 'Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Act', as passed by the New York State Legislature and signed by Governor Cuomo, is a momentous development for service connected disabled veterans businesses. Such firms play a unique role in giving returning military veterans an opportunity for employment in a difficult environment. This legislation will help these businesses thrive in the future while providing well-deserved opportunities for countless veterans," said Chance Mims, CEO Academy Securities, Inc.
"As the largest veterans' service organization, The American Legion Department of New York is pleased that New York State enacted this legislation in support of veterans disabled as a result of their military service," said Ken Governor, Commander of The American Legion Department of New York.
"On behalf of the more than 300,000 Vietnam and Vietnam-era veterans, the largest single block of veterans in New York State's population of almost one million veterans, the Vietnam Veterans of America New York State Council applauds Senator Greg Ball's efforts to pass this much-needed legislation in recognition of those who have served our great state and country," said Ned D. Foote, President, Vietnam Veterans of America New York State Council.