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Posts Tagged ‘Military Families’

Maryland Governor Proposes Exempting Military Pensions from Income Tax

  • February 18, 2015
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In an effort to make Maryland more welcoming to veterans, new Gov. Larry Hogan (R) wants to fully exempt military pensions from state income tax.
Currently the state exempts only the first $5,000 of military pensions from taxation. About 53,000 retirees in Maryland receive military pensions, which average $28,000 a year, reported the Baltimore Sun. “People who put their lives on the line every day kind of earned a tax break,” Hogan told reporters last week after addressing a crowd of veterans at an American Legion post. The governor acknowledged, however, that getting the General Assembly to approve his legislative proposal would be challenging …

Cost of Veterans Tuition Benefit in Texas Balloons following Court Decision

  • February 8, 2015
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The cost of a program providing veterans and family members free tuition and fees to public universities in Texas could approach $2 billion annually under one estimate after a federal court ruled in January it was unconstitutional for the state to limit the benefit to veterans who joined the military while living in Texas. The short-term impact of the ruling by U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. could be a sharp rise in the program’s annual cost to $750 million, but if veterans start moving to Texas to take advantage of the decision, it could cost universities $2 billion annually in tuition, reported the Houston Chronicle. The decision makes the program financially unsustainable, state Sen. Jane Nelson said last week. “We’ve created a monster,” said state Sen. Charles Schwertner …

New Orleans Considered Model for Ending Veteran Homelessness

  • February 5, 2015
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New Orleans appears to have set a high bar for eliminating homelessness among veterans when it announced last month that it had gone a step beyond ending chronic homelessness. The city said it had reached a point at which it could ensure “every homeless veteran who can be located is placed in permanent housing or in temporary housing with an identified permanent housing placement” within 30 days. It achieved a “zero” level of veteran homelessness by relying on a “housing first” approach, which emphasizes moving the homeless into permanent housing quickly even if it means lowering the barriers to entry …

DOD Budget Looks for Savings in Quality-of-Life Benefits

  • February 3, 2015
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The president’s fiscal 2016 budget request released Monday reprises cost-savings reforms to commissary benefits and the basic allowance for housing (BAH) from the previous year’s request, with some tweaks. The proposal would continue the Pentagon’s effort to slow the growth in BAH by requiring service members to pay an additional 4 percent in out-of-pocket costs over the next two to three years. The change, which comes on top of a 1 percent reduction in BAH approved by Congress for FY 2015, would save DOD $400 million in FY 2016 and $3.9 billion over the next five years …

Joints Chiefs Urge New Veterans to Support Their Communities

  • February 3, 2015
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Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, along with the remainder of the Joint Chiefs yesterday signed a letter urging separating personnel to continue serving the nation as civilians in their communities and in their new careers. “We trust that you will accept this challenge and join ranks with the business leaders, volunteers, and public servants in your communities. You have made your mark in uniform and represent the strength of our nation,” said the letter, which will go to all transitioning service members …

California Schools Left behind in Effort to Upgrade Facilities at Military Bases

  • February 1, 2015
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California has more schools than any other state on the Pentagon’s list of on-base public schools most in need of repair, but in most cases the local school districts lack the matching funds to take advantage of congressional funding intended to address the problem. Congress has allocated almost a billion dollars in recent years to upgrade facilities or expand capacity at public schools on military installations, reported the Los Angeles Times. The grants, however, require school systems or their states to fund 20 percent of the projects’ cost. The Muroc Joint Unified School District would like to make a variety of repairs to its elementary school on Edwards AFB costing $27.8 million but so far hasn’t been able to raise the matching funds …

Commission Urges Retaining Commissaries, Improving Quality-of-Life Programs

  • January 30, 2015
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The final report of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission devoted seven of its 15 recommendations to changes benefitting quality of life for service members and their families, including several that go beyond a strict definition of pay and benefits. Two recommendations that had not been previously revealed would bolster service members’ transition to civilian life and better support military children …

Commission Recommendations to Benefit Military Families

  • January 28, 2015
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Several recommendations from the congressionally established commission reviewing military compensation are expected to support military families, according to sources familiar with the final report. The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission will recommend DOD build more child development centers on installations, a response to military families’ long-standing complaints about the lack of sufficient child care, reported Military Times. The commission reportedly will call for preserving existing commissary benefits, including selling items at cost plus a 5 percent surcharge …

Change in Housing Allowance Applies to Families Living On-, Off-Base

  • January 27, 2015
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Military families living in on-base privatized housing as well as those living off base will be affected by Congress’ move to slow the growth in the basic allowance for housing (BAH) so it covers only 99 percent of rental costs. The change, enacted as part of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill, means that families moving into privatized housing will pay rent that is one percent higher than their BAH. “The basic premise is that whatever is happening to everybody in town, whatever added burden they’re bearing whether it’s one percent [of average rental costs] out of pocket or absent renter’s insurance, then people on base will bear the same burden …

FY’16 Budget May Propose Ending Requirement for Commissary Goods to Be Discounted

  • January 26, 2015
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The Pentagon is considering requesting Congress eliminate the requirement that commissary items be sold “at reduced cost,” as part of a package of fiscal 2016 budget proposals intended to reduce the cost of operating military grocery stores. The legislative change would be far-reaching and could end the commissary benefit for military families, reported the Navy Times. Commissaries now offer military families an average savings of about 30 percent over off-base groceries. Eliminating the requirement would help the Defense Commissary Agency meet a DOD mandate to identify $322 million in annual savings. Such a change, however, would result in DOD operating its commissaries closer to the way its exchanges are run …

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