Written by James F. Mingey, VBS Founder and Managing Director
Although almost all surveys were wrong in the recent election, they did predict that over 60% of Veterans would vote for Mr. Trump believing he would do a better job of handling Veterans issues.
So how will he deliver for Veterans? According to his website he’ll begin by:
1. Appointing a VA Secretary whose sole purpose will be to serve veterans. Under a Trump Administration, the needs of D.C. bureaucrats will no longer be placed above those of our veterans.
2. Use the powers of the presidency to remove and discipline the federal employees and managers who have violated the public’s trust and failed to carry out the duties on behalf of our veterans.
Idea #1 for President-elect Trump:
After selecting his new Secretary he could immediately issue an Executive Order that would insure that he/she makes their VA senior staff encourage qualified Veterans to seek self-employment benefits as authorized by Congress.
According the most recent VA report to Congress on the status of Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VRE) in 2014 over 100,000 Veterans are enrolled in the program. These are some of the most deserving Veterans who have definitely borne the burden of battle. Under existing legislation they are entitled to resources to help develop individual self-employment plans, including acquiring franchises. Unfortunately less than ½ of 1% of these Veterans actually get the chance. This is despite that fact that the VA has over 1000 Rehabilitation Counselors who are ready, willing and committed to helping these same Veterans. These Counselors would go any extra mile to do so. An Executive Order would help emphasize to VA senior managers to direct the Counselors to help Veterans start businesses, which in turn would help their local communities by creating some jobs.
Idea #2 for President-Elect Trump:
The electorate also believed President-elect Trump could do a better job running the economy. To accomplish this improvement he has tax reform high on his agenda. There’s the Trump Tax Plan which, also according to his website “will lower the business tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent, and eliminate the corporate alternative minimum tax. This rate is available to all businesses, both small and large, that want to retain the profits within the business”.
Although these proposed rates will surely be favorable to existing profitable franchisors and franchisees, how about creating some direct new tax benefits for the new Veteran entrepreneurs trying acquiring a franchise? The most difficult problems for start-ups, franchises or otherwise, typically is access to capital. This problem could be mitigated by something like the New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) which now provides a 39% tax credit and can be sold to generate equity for investment or to lower interest rates, helping sustain a small business in its early years. Proponents of the existing NMTC say that for every dollar provided by the government for NMTC, $8 dollars in private capital will be committed to small business and community development projects. But none of the billions of NMTC allocated so far have been specifically targeted to Veterans.
Mr. President-Elect, when you implement your tax reform, why not include a specific category of NMTC for Veterans acquiring franchises? Or maybe at least provide a NMTC for Veterans in VA Vocational Rehabilitation trying to start or acquire a franchise. There are many Veterans who would help you get the economy going with franchising. So why not give them a NMTC to start one?
Idea #3 for President-elect Trump:
Mr. President-elect has already indicated he will install a 24 Hr. Hotline for Veterans at the White House. I suggest you educate a special cadre of operators who understand small business issues for Veterans. Please make sure your telephone operators understand that it’s not just about Veteran entitlements when they call about starting a business or a franchise, it’s about letting Veterans lead their economies forward as well. The franchise industry helping Veterans can be a powerful resource for jobs.
Will he stay or will he go?
Idea #4 for President-elect Trump:
At the time of this writing we don’t know who will be the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs. It seems that the major Veteran Service Organizations (American Legion, DAV, VFW and IAVA) and many other Veteran advocates are solidly behind keeping Secretary McDonald. “Bob” has had a few good ideas, not the least of which is his MyVA initiative which has the potential to really connect Veterans back to their local communities.. It appears Bob now has completed the setup of this MyVA initiative, linking the VA to private local and regional partnerships. Why not give him a chance to take MyVA down the ‘last mile” to as many Veterans as possible?