HARRISBURG – The state Senate today approved two bills introduced by Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33) that would help Pennsylvania military veterans.
The first bill would create a loan program to help veterans build or expand their business, while the second bill would help them access programs and services tailored to their needs.
“These bills can make a positive impact in the lives of veterans across Pennsylvania,” Mastriano said. “During Military Appreciation Month, I’m honored that these measures received unanimous approval.”
Senate Bill 248 would create the Veteran-owned Business Loan Guarantee Program within the Pennsylvania Financing Authority. The program would be funded with $5 million of existing dollars from another program run by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. The bill defines a veteran-owned business as one in which 51% or more of the organization is owned or controlled by one or more veterans.
Recent U.S. Census Bureau data show the nearly 340,000 veteran-owned businesses account for almost 6% of all businesses in America. Those businesses employ nearly four million workers and generate more than $175 billion in annual payroll.
“We want our veteran-owned businesses to have access to the capital they need to compete and succeed in a competitive marketplace,” Mastriano said. “Veteran-owned businesses play an important role in our economy and our communities. Senate Bill 248 will show our gratitude to those members of the United States military and the Pennsylvania National Guard who suspended their civilian lives and abruptly halted their careers and their lives to protect our freedom.”
Senate Bill 447 would establish in law the PA VETConnect program, which is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and helps the commonwealth’s more than 700,000 veterans access services in their communities. The database of resources enables local veteran advocates – including staff at county veterans affairs offices – to point veterans to information, resources, programs and services in their area and across the commonwealth.
“We want to make sure our veterans are able to access the resources established to meet the diverse and unique needs of men and women who served in the military,” Mastriano said. “The programs are much more effective when veterans know about and can access them.”
The bills now head to the state House of Representatives for consideration.
Media contact: Josh Herman