As many remember fallen warriors this weekend, Sen. Bob Casey is introducing bipartisan legislation to get veterans back in business.
Casey, D-Pa., on Wednesday announced the Help Veterans Own Franchises Act, which he is cosponsoring with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
The bill would create a tax credit for veterans or their spouses who purchase a franchise. The tax credit would amount to 25 percent of the total franchise fee up to $100,000.
"If we are going to be worthy of their valor and sacrifice, we have to enact policies that will help them when they are making the transition from soldiers to veterans," Casey said during a news conference Wednesday.
The bill could help lower the high unemployment reported among veterans, he said.
Of York County's 35,840 veteran population, 9.1 percent are unemployed, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The approach: Franchises could be a solution to the problem, Casey said.
One in seven franchise businesses in the U.S. is owned by veterans, he said, citing research from the American Association of Franchises and Dealers.
"That's a pretty good number, but we can do better," Casey said.
Of the 205,000 veterans who have served since 9/11, 9.5 percent are unemployed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's 2 percentage points higher than the 7.5 percent national unemployment rate.
Casey introduced similar legislation in the last Congress, but it failed.
By introducing the Help Veterans Own Franchises Act with Rubio, the bill might have success, he said.
"Whenever you get bipartisan support it's important, but to have it at the onset is especially meaningful," Casey said.
He compared the legislation to the GI Bill, which helps veterans pay for education.
"This is another way to help veterans establish themselves as civilians," Casey said. "When veterans make that transition from their service we should be concerned about ways to make sure they have economic opportunity like this bill will provide."
That the legislation was unveiled days before Memorial Day only emphasizes the country's debt to its veterans, he said.
"This policy will help our brave men and women in uniform as they make the transition from a soldier to a veteran who has to support their family," Casey said.