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IDAHO HOUSE REJECTS TAX BREAK FOR RETIRED VETS

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1.  The above headlines appeared in a Boise, Idaho, Associated Press Release - Monday/24 February 2014. The complete news story reads as follows:
 
"Representatives took exception to exempting veterans from paying taxes on retirement benefits on concern such a move would unfairly single out one group for favorable treatment. The House Monday voted 35-31 against carving out perks for veterans, when other early retirees -- firefighters, among them--could make similar arguments they also deserve a break. Boise Rep Hy Kloc, a Democrat, acknowledged it was tough to vote against a bill for military veterans, but said the measure set a poor economic precedent. The bill would also cost the State nearly $8 million. Rep. Kathleen Sims, a Coeur d'Alene Republican, had been pushing the measure. If Idaho became a tax heaven for ex-military, Sims conjectured, hard-working people who often start a second career after leaving the service might come in droves."
 
2. First, let me perfectly clear:  This is a nonpartisan issue! This is about the following two specific issues that should be of importance to every resident in the Gem State of Idaho, regardless of political affiliation: 
 
(a)  Recognizing the Sacrifices of  Veterans:
 
Only one percent of those eligible choose to serve in a military uniform. In addition, only a small percentage of that number continue on through retirement eligibility. With all due respect to those House Members who voted against the Bill because they..." took exception to exempting veterans from paying taxes on retirement benefits on concern such a move would unfairly single out one group for favorable treatment."  The fact is that veterans are a very special group, who make sacrifices and take risks above and beyond any other form of employment. Each and every individual who has worn the uniform, has written out a blank check to the U.S. Government for an amount up to, and including their very lives. Serving in harm's way in combat against the enemies of democracy, anytime and anywhere around the globe, to protect and defend those precious freedoms and liberties which our forefathers fought for and sometimes died to acquire, is a very special calling.     
 
(b) Recognizing the Economic Impact of  Veterans:
 
The statement by Boise Rep Hy Kloc, a Democrat, who said in part...."the measure set a poor economic precedent," could not, in my opinion, have been further from the truth. On the other hand, the statement by the Bill's sponsor, Rep. Kathleen Sims, R-Coeur d' Alene, was spot on. She said, "This is not simply a show of support and gratitude for our military veterans, which is proper, but this is also about economic development for Idaho. Not only will retiring veterans bring substantial income to the State, but many will continue on to new careers, bringing with them a wealth of technical, managerial, and skills to our State."   
 
3. Well, Comrades, we may have lost the battle, but we haven't lost the war. In my email of February 16, 2014, I stated that "what we need at this time, is for Idaho's more than 130,000 veterans to step forward with one voice and let our elected Idaho State Legislators hear from us. In no uncertainty, they need to understand that lack of support for Idaho's veterans will not go unnoticed, and they will be held accountable at election time." 
 
4.  Open the attachment to this email to find out how your elected Idaho House Representatives voted on this Bill. The names in black supported this legislation. Those in red voted against our legislation. Were your  Representatives supportive of veterans and the contributions that we made to our State and this great Nation?  Do they recognize, as private citizens in our second careers, that veterans bring substantial income to the State, in addition to a wealth of technical, managerial, and skills to the market place?
 
5.  For those of you who may not recall who your elected Idaho House Representative is, I can help.  After clicking on the link below, click on the "Who's My Legislator" box in the upper left hand corner of your computer screen. Then, click on the "Interactive District Map" notation. You will then see a map of the 35 legislative districts in Idaho. Locate your legislative district based on the geographical area in which you reside and click on the number of the district. The names of your elected Idaho House Representatives will appear on the screen. You can then return to the attachment to this email, and determine whether your elected representative voted " Yes" (name in black) or "No" (name in red).      
 
 
6. After determining how your elected Idaho Legislative Representative voted on our veterans legislation, I would encourage every one of Idaho's 130,000 veterans to vote with their feet. Representative Sims has indicated a willingness to sponsor this Bill once again in the next session of Idaho's Legislature. Remember, this Bill was defeated by a slim margin of only four votes, with four House members absent. Therefore, our votes in this election can make a difference next time the legislation is brought to the floor of the House for a vote.  Please remember to go to your designated polling place on election day (20 May 2014) and make your vote count!!!      
 
7. Thanks for your service, all you have done, and all you continue to do for your Communities, our State and our great Nation.
 
In Comradeship,
 
Bob Jones
National Legislative Committee Member
Department of Idaho
Veterans of Foreign Wars  (No One Does More For Veterans)