Giving thanks to our veterans.

Author:Shay, Matthew
Position:IFA PRESIDENT AND CEO'S COLUMN - Help Veterans Own Franchises Act - Column

In the spring of 1944, Congress was debating how best to provide for military personnel returning from World War II. The GI Bill was on the table and it was creating heated debates in both chambers of Congress. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, some congressional members shunned some of the ideas in the bill, such as paying unemployed veterans $20 a week, because they thought it diminished their incentive to look for work, and the concept of sending battle-hardened veterans to colleges and universities was seen as a privilege then reserved for the rich.

Despite their differences, all agreed that something needed to be done to help veterans transition into civilian life. History shows that Congress saw the bill as an opportunity to "avoid the missteps following World War I, when discharged veterans got little more than a $60 allowance and train ticket home." President Franklin D. Roosevelt eventually signed the bill into law June 22, 1944.

But at the time, according to the VA, the GI Bill had far greater implications. "It was seen as a genuine attempt to thwart a looming social and economic crisis. Some saw inaction as an invitation to another depression."

Millions of veterans took advantage of the education and home ownership programs offered by the original GI Bill that helped to rebuild the U.S. economy after the war.

As we honor veterans on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2009, our nation once again has an opportunity to help veterans during tough economic times. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides a tax credit to employers who hire qualified veterans. Taking this concept and expanding it to the entrepreneurial level, U.S. Reps. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa) and Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) introduced the Help Veterans Own Franchises Act that establishes a tax credit for franchise businesses that choose to offer qualified veterans a discounted initial franchise fee.

The tax credit would amount to 50 percent of the total franchise fee discount offered by the franchisor to the franchisee and would be capped at $25,000 per unit. The bill also provides a tax credit to veterans who purchase a franchise and open a business in their local community, equal to 25 percent of the remaining franchise fee. Eligibility for both the franchisor and franchisee is capped at franchise fees of $100,000.


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