• October 24, 2014

New report grades state programs for veterans

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Posted: Saturday, November 17, 2012 4:30 am

A new state-by-state report card from a national organization that represents members of the military and veterans indicated that Texas lacks when it comes to providing monetary incentives or property tax relief for veterans.

On the other hand, the Lone Star State does well by exempting retiree pay from state taxation and providing benefits to currently serving families, according to the report.

The Military Officers Association of America released its “State Report Card” earlier this month, rating states by the programs they offer to retirees, veterans and family members.

Texas earned green marks — which indicated programs are available in the state  — for retirement pay and survivor benefits being exempt from state taxes. Texas also earned green marks for indicating veteran status on ID cards; providing unemployment and portable license benefits for military spouses; allowing military experience to count as credit for state licenses or certification; and allowing military children to participate in an interstate agreement that works in accordance with 43 other states on records transfer, immunization requirements, class placement and graduation requirements.

However, Texas did receive two red marks  — which indicate no available programs. One was for monetary incentives, or veteran bonuses, which are typically based on age, disability and service during certain conflicts, and the other was for property tax exemptions. The report did state counties and municipalities may have their own property tax relief programs for veterans.

Texas does, however, provide property tax exemptions for disabled veterans, including up to 100 percent in some cases. There are no state programs for veterans without a disability status, said Mitch Fast, chief appraiser for Coryell Central Appraisal District.

Delaware was the only state that had green marks for property tax relief and monetary incentives.

Texas had yellow marks — which indicate limited or conditional programs — for disability pay and homestead tax relief. The report also analyzed state education benefits for veterans, and indicated Texas has several available programs.

“This is the first year we have produced this state-by-state assessment,” said Karen Golden, the association’s deputy director of government relations.

She said reaction of the report has included “surprise” from some veterans who were not aware of certain benefits. Others look at it as “a call to action” that could lead to legislation, Golden said.

The report was released with the November issue of the Military Officers Association of America’s newsletter. The association lobbies state and federal government for better programs for military members and veterans and has state chapters nationwide, including one that meets in Killeen.

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