More than 330,000 Kentucky veterans could benefit from House Bill 367, “The Boots To Business” bill, designed to help veterans start and grow their own businesses. Secretary of State Alison Grimes worked with Representative Jody Richards to promote this new legislation which will waive the corporate filing fees required to form corporations, limited liability companies and other registered entities for veteran-owned businesses. The bill will also waive fees for filing amendments, restated certificates and annual reports for the first four years of a company’s life. “As Secretary of State, I have worked hard to recognize the service and sacrifice of our veterans,” Grimes said when unveiling the bill on March 2, 2016. “The Boots to Business initiative is a way to honor their service and help veterans begin writing a new chapter in their lives.”[i]
Lessons Learned From Absentee Voting Process
The idea for the initiative came when Secretary of State Grimes visited the Middle East to observe the process for absentee voting for Kentucky services members. She realized the lessons learned could be applied to another primary area of responsibility for her office: business registration. Kentucky’s fees for registration of corporate entities are not exorbitant: $40 to file a formation or amendment document (plus a minimum of $10 for Kentucky’s tax on shares for a corporation) and $15 for filing the annual report. Still, it is not the money that matters most. “As a veteran, it feels good to know that someone is there supporting us,” said retired Army Captain Josh Kinsel, who owns a motorcycle engine repair business in Louisville. “Having Secretary Grimes present a bill like this helps not only with the monetary value, but with emotional value.”i
Goal is to Keep Process Simple
The bill is attached to another bill, House Bill 59, and is currently in conference committee due to floor amendments added by the Senate to that bill after passage in the House. If it is enacted, Kentucky will join other states, including Michigan, West Virginia and Texas that have enacted similar measures. Assistant Secretary of State Lindsay Thurston spoke with me about possible protocols should the bill pass. While actual details will be determined once the bill becomes law, it is likely that veterans will need to provide a copy of their discharge papers and possibly a notarized attestation indicating the veteran has at least a 51% majority ownership of the company. She assured me, however, that a primary goal is to ensure the process is simple. They do not want to introduce a lot of red tape. If the bill becomes law, the office plans to mount an aggressive campaign to get the word out so that veterans are aware of this program and how it can benefit them.
Making a Difference
Unemployment rates for veterans are starting to come down this past year, thanks to recent concerted efforts by people in government, business and the nonprofit sector, all looking to ensure that the men and women who serve our country can count on a job when they leave active service. Bills like House Bill 367 can help veterans directly by making it less expensive for them to register and maintain businesses. Secretary of State Grimes is to be commended for her efforts to make it easier for veterans in Kentucky to start and operate businesses by eliminating registration and compliance fees. Whether it’s a government official, a nonprofit, a business or an individual, we can all make a difference and lend support.
This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered, or relied upon, as legal advice.