State leaders today to enact a law that would award six percent of state contracts to businesses owned by disabled veterans.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office said the initiative is more robust than the federal program, which pledges three percent of contracts to businesses of veterans disabled during their service.
The state will create a Division of Service-Disabled Veterans’ Business Development within the Office of General Services to facilitate the program.
Cuomo made the announcement during a veterans’ summit Thursday near the Capitol. It was among the initiatives Cuomo announced to help veterans, including expanded job-training opportunities and free lifetime passes to state parks.
Cuomo also announced a new state certificate for the more than 900,000 New Yorkers who served in the military during the Cold War.
“I think it’s important that we as a government and as a people respect the price that we pay for freedom because the cost is often all too dear,” Cuomo said at the event.
The “Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Act” is expected to be approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Cuomo in the coming days.
The measure will allow veterans that were disabled during service to compete for up to $400 million in state contracts, said Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, Putnam County.
Ball, who heads the Senate Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee, has pushed for the bill’s passage.
“New Yorkers can stand tall and proud today knowing that we have kept America’s promise to our veterans and service disabled heroes,” Ball said in a statement. “This landmark legislation will create tens of thousands of jobs for veterans statewide.”
The state certificate for the Cold War veterans will be administered through an application the state Division of Military and Naval Affairs awards website or by calling 518-591-5296.
It’s available to any New York resident who served in the military and was honorably discharged between the end of World War II on Sept. 2, 1945, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union on Dec. 26, 1991.
Other veterans benefits announced Thursday include:
- Electric and natural gas utilities agreed to create the first-ever statewide effort to place veterans in available jobs.
- The state’s 10 regional development councils will each include a veterans working group.
- The state Department of Civil Service will create a new web portal for qualified disabled veterans to submit their resumes to find state jobs.
- $50 million will be committed in state funds to help provide affordable housing to Veterans and Military Families.
- Cuomo announced legislation allowing New York to join a national initiative to ensure the education of children of military families who frequently move, requiring the children to change schools.
- Cuomo announced the “Lifetime Liberty Pass,” providing free lifetime access to state parks and free or discounted greens fees, camping and activities for qualifying veterans with disabilities.
- The state Department of Environmental Conservation will partner with veterans organizations to hold four free fishing events for veterans, service members and their families.