Tampa demonstrators support Obama's jobs bill for veterans benefits
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10/20/11 Janelle Irwin
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Protesters began gathering in front of the VA hospital in Tampa to tell veterans about provisions in Obama's Jobs Bill that would benefit them


photo by Janelle Irwin

Advocates for President Barack Obama’s jobs bill told veterans to tell their representatives to pass provisions that would benefit America’s military at a Rally in front of the VA hospital in Tampa Wednesday. The group handed out literature outlining parts of the bill that would give tax credits and job preference to some military people.

President Obama’s Jobs bill contains $447 million worth of incentives to get people back to work and repair the country’s lingering unemployment troubles. Some of those benefits could help people who have served in the military. Aaron Carmella is with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations or AFL-CIO. He said he wants to educate veterans about the benefits this jobs package could offer.

“There will be a $5600 tax credit to a business that hires a veteran returning from war and a $9600 tax credit is part of the Wounded Warrior part where if the soldier is wounded in active combat and they come back they get a higher tax credit.”

But last week the senate failed the bill. So now democrats are looking at the possibility of pushing it through the legislative process one provision at a time. Florida Consumer Action Network’s Timothy Heberlein said doing that may allow some of the most important pieces to pass.

“Even though it failed in the senate last week, we’re hoping that by Congress pushing it through by piece meal especially this provisions for veterans that’s going to help people, especially here where there’s a large number of veterans in the Tampa Bay area to help them get back to work and help give employers give them incentives to hire veterans. There’s a $9600 tax credit for businesses who hire veterans who have service connected disabilities which I think is an incredible opportunity to reach out to, to get the veteran community back to work after somebody whose served their country.”

Roy Weatherford is a retired USF professor and a veteran. He said he isn’t as versed as some in the details of what some Republicans are calling the stimulus 2.0, but he thinks it will help the long-term unemployed get back in the work force.

“One of the ways that the trickle down theory is marginally true is that when unemployment goes down, it’s easier for everyone to get a job because there’s less competition. So, if we can help President Obama put more of America back to work, that will certainly help veterans because if you’re on the bottom, the competition hurts you worse than it hurts anybody else. So when the competition is reduced, it helps you more than it helps anybody else.”

John Streater is a newly retired high school math teacher. He said veterans aren’t the only ones struggling in a failing economy.

“Somehow the people in congress don’t realize it yet, how much people are hurting. So, we’ve got to let them know. The economy can’t recover if people can’t spend. People can’t spend if they don’t have jobs. We keep trimming the budget and laying people off. The people that are still teaching where I was teaching, which was here, had to start paying more for retirement benefits, for pensions, it was like a pay cut. Well, all of that takes money out of the local economy.”

Protesters handed out literature to some veterans during the rally. It explained the tax credit and employment incentives as well as a task force that would be created to help veterans transition from military life back into a civilian jobs. They asked passing motorists to call state representatives and ask them to support the bill.

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