Gov. Terry Branstad celebrated Memorial Day by hosting a Camp Dodge ceremony in which he signed Senate File 303, a veteran assistance bill designed to attract veterans to the state of Iowa.
“Our bipartisan Home Base Iowa plan will work to match veterans with high-paying careers in Iowa,” Branstad declared. “These men and women have fought for our country, and acquired unique skillsets and training in the military.”
That is to say, the “Home Base“ initiative is geared to incentivize veterans to move to Iowa by offering them quality careers across the state.
Specifically, the bill offers veterans full state income tax exemptions for their federal retirement benefits as well as their survivor benefits. Overall, the exemptions are estimated to total $2.4 million in fiscal 2014 and grow to $9.4 million by fiscal 2018.
The bill further allows private sector employers to give veterans preferential treatment in hiring and promoting; permits Iowa licensing boards to grant license-seeking veterans credit for military training and experiencing; waives special plate fees ordinarily charged for military license plates; expands eligibility for the Military Homeownership Assistance Program, and streamlines veterans’ collegiate endeavors by granting academic credit for their military training and experience provided that they seek a degree at an Iowa college or university.
Many believe that Branstad’s actions will set a precedent for veteran treatment after which other states will model their own policies. Former Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell, for example, deemed the Senate bills “very historic and very significant” in that they prove that “Iowa is right up on the forward edge of making veterans welcome.”
Branstad also spent his Memorial Day at Camp Dodge signing Senate File 2352, a bill extending a homestead tax credit for disabled veterans.