STATE ISSUE 1 - VETERANS BONUS
Vote yes for this, it won't raise your taxes. These guys deserve it!
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Two years ago, Mentor native and U.S. Army Capt. Tom Germano wrote the Ohio Treasurer's Office asking about compensation for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. He had heard from his comrades about such benefits being made available in other states.
I was serving as State Treasurer at the time, and my office and I investigated the matter. We reported back to Capt. Germano that, unlike other states, Ohio did not offer financial benefits to recent veterans.
That was despite Ohio's tradition of giving veterans of major wars bonuses for their service. After World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, voters approved separate constitutional amendments authorizing compensation be paid to veterans as a thank you for their service. Each amendment passed with more than 70 percent of the vote.
I asked legislators to place a constitutional amendment on this fall's general election ballot. They followed through, and voters will have an opportunity to vote on state Issue 1, a constitutional amendment authorizing bonuses for veterans of recent wars, this November.
The amendment would allow the state to pay bonuses of up to $1,000 to veterans who served in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan or Iraq wars and up to $500 for those serving elsewhere during these conflicts. Family members of those killed in action will receive $5,000 in addition to any other allowable compensation.
The compensation would be funded through the issuance of bonds, as has been the case with previous bonus amendments. It would not raise taxes, and the bonds would be paid back over 15 years. The state would be authorized to take out $200 million in bonds, but the actual cost of the bonuses is projected to be about $106 million.
The bonus amounts reflect past benefits paid by the state, updated for inflation. While modest, these benefits recognize the service of Ohio's war veterans and help with their transition back to civilian life.
Thanks to one soldier who took the time in the midst of the battlefield to speak on behalf of his servicemen and women, Ohioans will be given the choice to continue the tradition of compensating their veterans.
Richard Cordray is Ohio's Attorney General.
"Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state" ~ Thomas Jefferson