Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Bob Andrzejczak, Vince Mazzeo, Raj Mukherji and Whip Wilson to create a state contract set-aside program for businesses owned and operated by disabled veterans now heads to the governor’s desk, having received unanimous approval from both houses of the legislature.
The sponsors noted that the set-aside program would create economic opportunity for disabled veterans and recognize their service and sacrifice.
“Technical and leadership skills acquired through military service can easily translate into successful entrepreneurship,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland), who was wounded in Iraq while serving with the U.S. Army. “Disabled veteran-owned businesses have made significant contributions to New Jersey’s economy. This legislation would continue to support our disabled veterans who aim to start or grow their businesses.”
Under the bill’s (A-976) provisions, the Department of Treasury would be directed to administer a state contract set-aside program for disabled veteran business owners. The measure establishes a goal that contracting agencies set aside at least 3 percent of their contracts for disabled veterans’ businesses.
“The challenges of returning home and to work after service are very different for disabled veterans,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “By creating a dedicated resource for disabled veteran business owners, we encourage entrepreneurship, which encourages a stronger New Jersey economy.”
“The strength and resilience of America’s disabled veterans make them the ideal citizens to build successful businesses in our state,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson), who served as a sergeant in military intelligence in the Marine Corps Reserve. “By promoting entrepreneurship among disabled veterans, this set-aside legislation will help revive New Jersey’s economy while honoring those who made courageous sacrifices for this nation.”
“America’s ‘vetreprenuers’ have an essential role to play in New Jersey’s workforce, given their demonstrated commitment to promoting teamwork and upholding a culture of excellence,” said Wilson (D-Camden/Gloucester), a Vietnam War veteran who served in the U.S. Air Force. “This bill is about giving these men and women the opportunity to employ their skills and talents as business owners in our state.”
A disabled veteran’s business is defined as a business which has its principal place of business in New Jersey, is independently owned and operated and at least 51 percent owned and controlled by persons who are disabled veterans or a business which has its principal place of business in New Jersey and has been officially verified by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs as a service disabled veteran-owned business for the purposes of department contracts pursuant to federal law.
Seven other states – California, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Maryland and New York – have enacted similar legislation to support veteran-owned businesses.