Senate Democrats plan to make veterans the focus of their next jobs bill, providing tax incentives for businesses to hire former members of the military and instructing the Labor Department to find ways to ease their transition to the civilian workplace.

But perhaps most striking is Democrats’ decision to jettison a popular method of paying for pieces of President Obama’s $447 billion jobs bill, which failed in a bipartisan vote in the Senate. The majority is not looking to tax Americans who make more than $1 million to offset the veterans’ jobs provision; rather, they will keep in place current fees for V.A. home loans.

The abandonment of the millionaire surtax is a victory for Republicans, who have, heretofore opposed such a measure, and it also signals a significant compromise by Democrats toward improving the nation’s persistently poor jobless rate. While polls showed the surtax to be popular with a majority of Americans, Republicans have stood uniformly against it, thereby blocking any possible jobs measure.

The bill provides a tax credit of up to $5,600 to businesses for hiring veterans who have been looking for a job for more than six months, as well as a $2,400 credit for those who are unemployed for less than 6 months. For those who hire veterans who have been disabled in the line of duty, a tax credit of up to $9,600 is available, as long as the vet has been looking for work for more than six months.

Continue reading →