At a recent summit on veterans, First Lady Michelle Obama challenged the City of Los Angeles to end veterans' homelessness by 2015--we accepted her challenge.
One of the best ways to combat homelessness is to create more good jobs for our veterans. It's been a citywide priority since at least 2011, when Los Angeles established the Office of Veterans Affairs to centralize city resources, enable access to local and regional services, and serve as a one-stop information shop.
Our city has made important strides, but there is much more work to do to assist local veterans. Of the roughly 110,000 vets in the city today, at least 28 percent are disabled and 15 percent are unemployed.
That's why I'm partnering with Councilmember Bernard Parks, District 8, to enhance the city's assistance to our veterans. This week, I supported his motion to create a pilot program that would give local businesses a tax rebate if they hire honorably discharged veterans and employ them for an entire year. The pilot Veteran Business Tax Rebate Program is a targeted incentive modeled after the federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit.Read the motion here.
Under the program, businesses would receive $1,000 per hired veteran and $1,500 for hiring a disabled veteran. The maximum one-time rebate would be capped at $20,000 per business.
The Veteran Business Tax Rebate Program is precisely the kind of business incentive that's good for our city. It serves people in need, while stimulating economic growth in a fiscally responsible way. Businesses will be rewarded for doing the right thing, and jobs will be created for disabled veterans and those who have honorably served our country.
As the City Council's Budget and Finance Committee chair, I look forward to discussing the benefits of this program with my colleagues very soon. This program is something we should implement in Los Angeles right away.