Disabled Queens veterans, and former military members throughout New York, who own businesses will better be able to access state contracts following legislation passed in Albany this week, elected officials said.
The state Senate passed the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Act Monday, and the bill sponsored by state Sen. Gregg Ball (R-Patterson) is expected to land the support of the Assembly as well. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will also giving his blessing to the legislation that aims to ensure that 6 percent of state contracts go to businesses owned by service-disabled veterans.
Borough lawmakers backed the act, saying it will provide needed support to numerous veterans living in Queens and throughout the state.
“Those who put themselves in extreme danger to protect our freedoms deserve our respect, gratitude, and, most importantly, assistance when they return home,” Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park) said in a prepared statement. “Politics should never stand in the way of supporting our returning heroes, and I am confident this new program will finally put our vets on the path to success.”
The act creates the Division of Service-Disabled Veterans’ Business Development within the state Office of General Services. For businesses to qualify, the operations must be at least 51-percent owned by a service-disabled veteran who controls day-to-day operations. This division will be tasked with providing and collecting information to aid the businesses, developing a directory of certified places, and promoting service-disabled veteran-owned operations statewide.
New York is home to more than 900,000 veterans, 72 percent of whom have served during periods of conflict. Approximately 88,000 New Yorkers served in Afghanistan or Iraq. The state is also home to about 30,000 active duty military personnel.
According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, there are about 106,000 service-connected disabled veterans in New York.
Veterans make up a large portion of the state’s economy, with one in seven being self employed or small business owners.