FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Arlington Heights, IL – February 3, 2012 – Yesterday, State Rep. David Harris (R-Arlington Hts.) questioned Gov. Pat Quinn’s proposal for tax credits to businesses that hire veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. Harris indicated he would rather see all veterans be eligible in such a program.
Harris did not mention unemployment rates among different veterans. According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan had a 12.4% unemployment rate as of July, 2011. That is several points higher than the national average which had improved to 8.5% as of early 2012.
“Every American wants to do all we can to honor the brave men and women who protect our great nation,” said Frank Marino, Wheeling Township Democrats Treasurer. “But, instead of working with the Governor on a bipartisan basis to tackle the acute unemployment crisis facing our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and focus state resources where they could do the most good, Rep. Harris snipes at the Governor. Harris himself has frequently criticized state spending yet here he is proposing to balloon the Governor’s targeted jobs program before it even gets debated in Springfield.”
Like Gov. Quinn, several national organizations and the White House are developing efforts to get Iraq and Afghanistan veterans working again. The White House included a Veterans Jobs Initiative as part of Pres. Barack Obama’s comprehensive American Jobs Act.
While the President’s comprehensive American Jobs Act was stalled by Tea Party Republicans, the veterans initiative passed the divided Congress and was signed into law by Pres. Obama as a separate package late last year.
Additionally, the national Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America organization (IAVA) has launched programs to help Iraq and Afghanistan veterans find employment such as a series of “Smart Job Fairs” across the country, including Chicago, by coordinating with large corporations.
Harris served as Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard under ex-Governors George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich and is the father of an active duty soldier stationed in Afghanistan.
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