DES MOINES — One of the centerpieces of Gov. Terry Branstad’s goals for the Legislature this year was to make Iowa more attractive to veterans returning home from military service. The initiative he called Home Base Iowa passed with broad support and is awaiting his signature.
The bill exempts federal retirement pay received for military service and survivor benefits from state individual income tax. It also eliminates special issuance fees of $25 to $35 for special military service license plates and allows businesses to grant a preference in hiring and promotion of veterans and some spouses.
In addition, community colleges, state universities and private colleges must file certain reports on educational credits awarded to veterans and professional. And occupational licensing boards must adopt rules to provide credit toward licensure for veterans with appropriate military education, service, and training.
The package is designed to make it easier for veterans to use their military training transition into civilian jobs and in other ways make the state an attractive place to work and hopefully settle into retirement.
“With high-quality, good paying jobs available in Iowa the Home Base Iowa jobs plan aims to match these dedicated Americans with quality careers that fit their unique skillsets,” his spokesman Jimmy Centers said in a statement Friday.
The Home Base Iowa bill is expected to exempt taxes for 7,765 current Iowans receiving military retirement income. It will cost the state about $9 million annually in revenue to the general fund.
Branstad has said he hopes to sign the bill on Memorial Day at Camp Dodge in Johnston
When he announced the idea in November, Branstad introduced it as a new way for the state to honor veterans.
He appointed former U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell and Robert Myers, chief executive officer of convenience store chain Casey’s General Store Inc., to serve as co-chairmen of the Home Base Iowa Foundation. The group intends to raise money and support the effort to recruit veterans and families to Iowa.