Veteran Business Grant Initiative – recruiting America’s finest to create jobs in our community

April 5, 2012

Retiring veterans are a tremendous asset to any community.  As the military decreases its footprint in Operation Enduring Freedom and meets mandated force reductions, more retirees will leave the service.  There are a number of reasons Tennessee is near the top in recruiting these great Americans to our state.  However, we can do more and in the end we will be the beneficiaries.

Beyond just their sense of service, there are several intangibles in bringing military retirees to Tennessee.  For example, of retiring veterans, nearly half have a bachelor’s degree compared to only twenty percent of Tennesseans.  Since their average age is often less than the typical retiree, 46 versus 60 plus, the veterans tend to seek second careers serving as a great source of qualified disciplined labor to businesses.

Recent studies published in 2011 evaluating the economic impact of retirees on Knoxville, Tennessee found each retiree added over $39,000 each year to the economy of the area.  They pay property tax and sales tax.  Many start business and create jobs for other Tennesseans who themselves pay property and sales taxes.

Tennessee currently offers no grants and only marginal incentives to veterans.  The state does graciously care for the men and women who are physically challenged by disability.  We need to do more to recruit military retirees to come to our state and start business.

Therefore, as a way to give back to veterans and grow jobs in Tennessee, I propose to create a state grant to ALL veterans who retire from the military and open a business in Tennessee.  If the government gives each veteran a grant of $10,000, the return on investment for each veteran retiring and staying in or moving to our community is $29,000 dollars in the first year alone, and an additional $39,000 per year afterwards.

Not only is this economically intuitive, it also establishes Tennessee as a state with a real commitment to the men and women who served our country.  The benefits to the communities of Tennessee, while economically quantifiable, go beyond dollars and cents as men and women of sacrifice live and serve among us, growing the sense of service in all of us.