April 29, 2010 // Franchising.com // WASHINGTON — The International Franchise Association today urged Congress to quickly pass legislation that would help veterans purchase franchise businesses after they return to civilian service by incentivizing franchise businesses to recruit honorably discharged veterans.
"Members of our armed forces are disciplined, hard-working and passionate people who understand how to work well within systems. These are crucial attributes that make military veterans excellent candidates for franchise ownership," said Mary Kennedy Thompson, president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing in Waco, Texas, during testimony before the House Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity. "We applaud the subcommittee for holding this hearing on the status of veteran small businesses, and strongly urge passage of H.R. 2672, the Help Veterans Own Franchises Act to help improve the current status."
Thompson said the legislation is co-authored by Representatives Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa) and Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) and currently has more than 30 bipartisan co-sponsors. The bill establishes a tax credit for franchise businesses that choose to offer qualified veterans a discounted initial franchise fee. The tax credit would amount to 50 percent of the total franchise fee discount offered by the franchisor capped at $25,000 per unit, and also provides a tax credit for the remaining initial franchise fee paid by the military veteran.
Members of the committee who are co-sponsors include: Ranking Member Boozman (R-Ark.) and Representatives Michael Michaud (D-Maine), Glenn Nye (D-Va.), Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) and David Roe (R-Tenn.). Additional co-sponsors include Representatives Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) and Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.).
The hearing coincides with an Executive Order signed by President Obama this week establishing an interagency task force to coordinate the efforts of federal agencies to improve capital and business development for small business concerns owned and controlled by veterans and service-disabled veterans. The Executive Order, among other tasks, directs the task force to improve capital access and capacity of small business owned and controlled by veterans and service-disabled veterans through loans, surety bonding and franchising.
Thompson, who received her commission as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1985, serving for eight years and achieved the rank of Captain while on active duty and later the rank of Major in the reserves, currently serves as vice-chair of IFA Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative, or VetFran, Committee. VetFran is a voluntary effort of IFA member companies designed to encourage franchise ownership by offering financial incentives to honorably discharged veterans. Since 2002, more than 1,700 veterans have purchased their own franchise business with the help of this program.
"Enactment of this tax credit will encourage economic growth and make it easier for veterans to become small business owners," Thompson said. "This bill is a great complement to the IFA VetFran program and will help create jobs during this slow economy. Our veterans deserve this chance after so faithfully serving our country."
The International Franchise Association is the world's oldest and largest organization representing franchising worldwide. Celebrating 50 years of excellence, education and advocacy, IFA protects, enhances and promotes franchising through government relations, public relations and educational programs. Through its awareness campaign highlighting the theme, Franchising: Building Local Businesses, One Opportunity at a Time, IFA promotes the 21 million jobs and $2.3 trillion of economic activity generated by franchising. IFA members include franchise companies in over 90 different business format categories, individual franchisees and companies that support the industry in marketing, law and business development.