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Tax Credit Helps Bridgeport Biodiesel Plant Hire Veterans, Grow Business

Bridgeport Biodiesel CEO Brent Baker talks with U.S. Sen Richard Blumenthal, who stopped by the company's facility Tuesday.
Bridgeport Biodiesel CEO Brent Baker talks with U.S. Sen Richard Blumenthal, who stopped by the company's facility Tuesday. Photo Credit: Jay Polansky

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) stopped by Bridgeport Biodiesel on Tuesday morning to promote the extension of a tax credit for the hiring of unemployed or disabled veterans.

Officials from local organizations were on hand for the visit, including those from The WorkPlace, an organization that, among many services, helps provide housing and jobs for veterans.

WorkPlace program manager Carmen Nieves said the company’s presence in Bridgeport helps the greater community, including veterans who need employment.

“It means jobs, it means an opportunity for a better tomorrow, it’s an opportunity to live and work locally,” Nieves told the Daily Voice. “(These things) improve the quality of life of someone, especially if they’re coming from programs that provide supportive services.”

The company, which is constructing a new facility in the Bridgeport Eco-Industrial Park, plans to soon hire 30 new employees. Some could be veterans, according to Bridgeport Biodiesel CEO Brent Baker, who said he has hired veterans in the past and plans to hire more in the future.

Earlier this year, Blumenthal introduced the VOW to Hire Heroes Extension Act of 2015 to renew and extend the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which had expired in 2014. The credit could be available to businesses such as Bridgeport Biodiesel and encourage them to hire veterans.

The credit was reauthorized through 2019 after the Senate and House passed The Protecting Americans from Tax Hike Act, which incorporated Blumenthal’s bill.

“This tax credit will help give our returning heroes the opportunities they have earned to transition to these new careers at home,” Blumenthal said in a statement.

During Blumenthal’s visit, Bridgeport Biodiesel’s Baker told the senator that he looked at other locations to build the facility, but he decided to house it in Bridgeport. “It’s just a great place for us to be,” he said.

Blumenthal also lauded the construction of Bridgeport Biodiesel’s new facility. “This is exactly what we need in Bridgeport to create jobs,” he said.

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