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      Increased tax credits for companies that hire veterans

      A bill in the Illinois general assembly could see more tax credits headed to companies who hire unemployed veterans, that's because a report from the United States Department of Labor shows that young male veterans between the ages of 18 and 24, who have served in either Iraq and or Afghanistan had an unemployment rate of nearly 22% in 2010.

      The chief sponsor of the bill is Senator John Sullivan, D-Rushville.

      He said that men and women who have served in the military since September 2001, should get a break in trying to find a job.

      "You know, these men and women have served our country. They have put their lives on the line in many instances and now they've come back and they've had a hard time continuing their careers. So we want to make it as convenient as possible for them to find a job," Sullivan said.

      Meanwhile it was about a year and a half ago that Daniel Spohr wasn't walking the halls at John Wood Community College, but was walking an Army detail in the hills of Afghanistan. But since he came home, Spohr has been taking classes at John Wood and looking for a job. When he heard about a proposal that would give more tax credits to companies that hire unemployed veterans, he liked the idea.

      "Anytime you can get somebody to work, veteran or not, it's a good thing. But it's a great thing when you can give somebody who served their country a little extra break, by giving their employers a reason to hire them, maybe get some of these people that were working for four years or with the military a chance to get out there and work in the real world now," Spohr said.

      Right now, Illinois companies get a 10% tax credit on wages they've paid veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan. But for Senator Sullivan, he thinks there should be an increase from 10 to 20 percent. He said that would benefit not just the veterans who are looking for a job, but also would benefit the companies and the economy.

      "So what we're saying is that we want to, what this legislation does is that it increases that tax credit to 20% if they hire an unemployed veteran and so that what we're trying to do is put these folks back to work that have served our country."

      For Spohr, he hopes the bill will make it through the house and senate and onto Governor Pat Quinn's desk for his signature. He said that every little bit that's available to help a veteran find a job is a good thing, not just for the vet, but for their family as well.