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Best States for Veterans?

What is the best state for Veterans? Intriguing question…What flavor ice cream is the best? Everyone has their own, valid opinion. Subjective, tough to measure. Veterans have our own needs such as proximity to Veteran Affairs Hospitals, employment opportunity, cost of living, etc. Maybe the most important factor is community support for Veterans and the Military in general. Weather, quality of life, entertainment…considerations go on and on which makes the discussion interesting.

Let’s try to put some quantitative, objective points. Business. As most know, the Federal Government has long-standing small business objectives. By regulation and policy, agency Contract Officers must target 3% of their contract funding be awarded to Service-Disabled, Veteran Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB). Every Fiscal Year, those numbers are reported and easily found.

That is Federal level. Peel the onion back and you find each State has its own objectives as well. What does this mean? If you own a business operating in a particular State, you may be more likely to win contracts with State-level agencies. Again, differentiate between Federal and State. We have a President of the United States, but also 50 State Governors. Each State Governor, State Legislature, etc has determined the priorities for spending their own State dollars. There are other benefits such as loans, grants, taxes, exemptions that may also be valid considerations, however for the purposes of this article, let’s focus on State-level spending objectives benefiting Veterans. Those are real numbers we can work with. Of course, if you are a Veteran who does not own a business, this argument is not your top priority. Let’s dig in!!

  1. Virginia
  2. New York
  3. California
  4. Washington
  5. Michigan
  6. Wisconsin
  7. Arkansas
  8. Maryland
  9. Minnesota
  10. Massachusetts
  11. Illinois
  12. Indiana

Well that was easy! No, this is far more complicated as you can imagine. The above ranking is based on the published OBJECTIVES for what state is targeting for their budget to be spent with Veteran Owned companies. This does not reflect ACTUAL follow through on those objectives. Those numbers are not consistently reported State to State. Also, our ranking is weighted based on the State’s budget. For example, a State may have a 50% budget objective. Well that’s great but if the budget is a fraction of a larger State, that needs to be considered. 50% of $100,000 is $50,000 whether 3% of $1,000,000,000 is $30,000,000. In our ranking system, 3% may be lower but they rank higher due to the total dollar value targeting Veterans.

Another consideration is in the details. For example, California has a 3% objective but that number is targeted for procurements between $5,000 and $250,000. Florida does not have a stated objective nor percent; however, they give preference to the Veteran Owned company if there is a tie. Michigan gives 10% preference to contract pricing but has a goal of 5% for contract award values.

So yes, Virginia is our winner with their 40% objective, but that category (SWaM) in Virginia includes Woman-Owned and Minority-Owned companies as well.

Bottom line, States do what States do. The contracting preferences reflect the will of the State elected officials. These numbers do give some concrete foundation to the discussion but from a higher-level, they begin to show a willingness to favor our Veterans in appreciation for their service and sacrifice. My recommendation: this information contributes to the discuss rather than the sole factor.

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