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New Paths to State Contracts for Veterans Nearly Cleared

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Former military members who run their own businesses may soon get extra help from the State of New Jersey to secure lucrative goods and services contracts.

The Veterans Business Assistance Act would simplify and clarify the steps that need to be taken and would target New Jersey businesses owned or operated by military veterans.

State Senator Chris Connors and Assembly members Brian Rumpf and DiAnne Gove (R-9) crafted and sponsored the bill that brings several departments into active roles to promote the chances of veteran-run businesses to secure contracts – and in turn, help revive the state’s flagging economy.

“It directs the Department of the Treasury to work with the Economic Development Authority and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to get more veteran-owned businesses into the state procurement process,” says Connors.

The version that won Assembly approval this week is a revision of an earlier bill that the Forked River-based lawmakers submitted, which reached Governor Chris Christie’s desk. That one set aside three percent of New Jersey’s contracts with private commerce specifically for veteran-run operations. Christie gave it a conditional veto, suggesting the problem wasn’t so much limited access as limited knowledge.

“The Governor’s recommended a more global approach,” Connors adds, “to encourage more veteran-owned businesses to participate.”

Connors says that the measure is a way of repaying people whose volunteer time in harm’s way now leaves them at an economic disadvantage. The bill awaits a full Senate vote.

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