By Cathy B. Koplen
The Daily Star
---- — ONEONTA — U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., was in Oneonta on Saturday to show his support for a program offering tax credits to businesses that hire veterans.
At a media conference at IOXUS Inc. in Oneonta, Schumer hailed company President and CEO Mark McGough as a prime example of the successful partnership between veterans and businesses.
“Thank you, Mark, for caring about our veterans,” Schumer said Saturday. “Veterans have skills. If they repaired trucks during their service, then they can repair cars and trucks here. If they were mechanics — or even if they have no specific skills — look at their training.”
Frank Kovac, a retired Air Force and veteran of the Gulf War, agreed with Schumer.
“We worked very hard in the military,” Kovac said. “It was the best and the worst days of your life.”
Kovac, who works in Ioxus’ research and development department, said he enjoys his work.
“I got interested in chemistry (and) the military paid for my bachelor’s degree,” Kovac explained.
Kovac is one of five veterans employed by Ioxus, which manufactures and develops ultracapacitors and hybrid-capacitors used in robotic manufacturing devices, hybrid cars and buses, medical imaging machines and wind turbines.
“We like to hire veterans because they are the kind of employees we want,” McGough said Saturday. “There is a mark of discipline and training they bring to the job, and in our business, we need people who can respond with initiative.”
Schumer is seeking support for his plan to prioritize the extension of the “Returning Heroes and Wounded Warriors Tax Credits,” which, unless extended, will expire at the end of this year. Enacted in November 2011, the plan provides a tax breaks of up to $9,600 to employers who hire veterans.
Schumer has been vocal on Capitol Hill trying to pass the tax credits before they expire and expressed optimism about Congress’ ability to resolve a budget before the end of the year.
“I am in the minority, but I believe,” Schumer said. “Nothing happens, and then a week before Christmas something will happen.”
Before ending the press conference, Schumer expressed his sympathies to the community of Newtown, Conn. where 20 elementary school children were killed Friday morning.
Also in attendance at Saturday’s event were Oneonta Mayor Richard Miller, Oneonta Town Supervisor Bob Wood, Otsego County Chamber Director Barbara Ann Heegan, Otsego County Board Chairwoman Kathleen Clark, Otsego County Democratic Chairman Richard Abbate, and Oneonta Common Council member Mike Long.