By Debbie Gregory
With the U.S. military trimming down towards peacetime numbers, approximately 200,000 Veterans and their families are starting their new lives each year. Across the country, Americans are taking steps to welcome our newest Veterans home. There are individuals, businesses, schools and communities that wish to draw Veterans to them and establish a mutually beneficial, symbiotic relationship with them.
This effort is occurring on the broadest scale in Iowa, where Gov. Terry Branstad has not been shy in his efforts to persuade Veterans to live and work in his state. In Branstad’s Condition of the State address this past January, the governor called for a comprehensive package of incentives to draw and keep Veterans in Iowa, as part of his Home Base Iowa initiative.
“Through their service, Veterans have already proven they share the values we hold dear as Iowans – hard work, leadership, and patriotism, among others. Home Base Iowa allows Veterans to find the right job for them in Iowa, and to become part of our communities,” Branstad said, as credited to the Iowa.gov website.
Senate File 303, also known as the Home Base Iowa bill, includes provisions for
- State tax exemption for military retirement pay
- Specialized Veteran licenses plates
- Veterans preference for private employment,
- Post-secondary education reporting for Veterans,
- Adopting measures that will provide licenses and certifications for skills honed during military service
- Appointing members to county Veterans commissions
- A home ownership program
- Eligibility for new Veterans for the civil service exam.
On April 28, Senate File 303 was passed by the Iowa House by a vote of 94-2.The only real complaint regarding the bill is that it does not provide for automatic, in-state residency for Veterans going to school in Iowa. However, Iowa already allows all Veterans using the Post-9/11 GI Bill to qualify for in-state tuition.
Iowa is not the only state to pass such laws, but they are one of the most vocal about providing a haven for Veterans to learn, work and live in their state. What is your community, business or state doing to benefit Veterans?
Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.
Military Connection: A Veteran Haven? By Debbie Gregory