Saul Newton, Executive Director
Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy denies service disabled veteran owned businesses in the proposed development of the Foxconn property
MILWAUKEE – Legislators voted yesterday to exclude disabled veteran owned businesses from the proposed $3 billion state incentive package benefitting Foxconn Technology Group, and voted against a separate amendment setting a 1% veteran hiring goal. Both amendments were defeated by the State Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy.

“It is disappointing that legislators have decided against including veterans in the opportunities presented by the Foxconn deal,” said Saul Newton, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce. “Foxconn’s decision to invest in Wisconsin represents an exciting opportunity for our state. Veterans deserve a seat at the table,”

The Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce, a nonprofit organization representing more than 65,000 Wisconsin businesses owned by veterans, sent a public letter to legislators last week calling for a goal of  1% of contracts in the proposed Foxconn incentive package go to businesses owned by service disabled veterans, as is currently required of all state of Wisconsin projects.

“I’m disappointed these common sense initiatives were voted down,” said Bryan Sevener, a service disabled US Army veteran and President/CEO of Milwaukee-based DigiApp Technologies. “I’m hoping that our elected officials can look past politics and show their bipartisan support for veteran and disabled veteran owned businesses.”

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, only 7% of veteran owned businesses survive longer than 10 years, compared to one-third of all businesses. Extending contracting opportunities to businesses owned by veterans is critical to the health of Wisconsin’s veteran owned businesses. In May 2010, the Wisconsin Legislature enacted Wisconsin Act 299 that extended the benefits of the state’s procurement goals to businesses owned by disabled veterans.  A goal of 1% was created for such businesses under 2013 Wisconsin Act 192.

“Disabled veteran business owners deserve the same consideration for a project requiring significant public investment as they would receive for any other state project,” said Newton. “It is our hope that legislators will decide service disabled veteran business owners are deserving of the opportunities presented by the Foxconn development.”

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The Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting military veterans, veteran-owned and veteran-friendly businesses. The group advocates for Wisconsin’s veteran business community, and promotes economic opportunity for military veterans, military families, and veteran-friendly businesses.
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