The Legislature this year considered multiple proposals to support and thank military personnel, veterans, and their families.
As part of the Home Base Iowa Initiative, the Legislature approved exempting military retirement pay from state individual income taxes. This takes effect upon enactment and is retroactive to the tax year beginning January 1, 2014. In addition, the initial fee for all military license plates is eliminated. However, the annual military license plate fee will remain intact at the cost of $5.00.
In addition, private sector employers are allowed to grant a preference in hiring and promotion for veterans and some spouses; and the various professional and occupational licensure boards are required to match up military training to current licensure requirements. Community colleges and the Regents universities are also required to report annually regarding the award of educational credits to veterans for military education, training, and experience for the prior five academic years. The initial report is due to the Legislature and Governor’s Office December 15, 2015.
The Legislature also approved several other bills related to veterans that were not part of the Home Base Iowa Initiative, including: exempting state individual income taxes from military survivor benefits; ensuring property of war veterans, such as Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) halls, do not lose their tax exempt status; allowing cities and counties to administer a civil service examination out of cycle specifically for recently discharged military service members; expanding eligibility and financing options for the Military Homeownership Assistance program; and improved reporting requirements for sexual assaults within the Iowa National Guard.
Representative Bruce Bearinger (D- Oelwein) welcomed veterans Jake Blitsch and Rich Witt to the Statehouse for Veterans Day on the Hill on Wednesday, January 22, 2014.