Editorial: Pawlenty’s veteran plan deserves support

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Gov. Pawlenty couldn’t have given war veterans and current military troops any nicer a Christmas present than he did Monday with his proposed initiatives and &8220;Support Our Troops&8221; license plates.

The license plates &045; a visual reminder for us all to honor our troops,

at a cost of $18.50 standard charge and a minimum $30 donation &045; is expected to raise nearly $2.4 million in the next year and half. The money will be used to provide assistance to families of deployed troops, soldiers and veterans.

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Though the extra money won’t cover the governor’s $12 million proposal, with costs expected to increase in coming years, it’s a step in the right direction: it’s time to put our money where our mouth is and give our troops, veterans

and their families a tangible show of support.

Other aspects of Pawlenty’s plan includes:

– Providing state income tax exemptions to veterans who receive military retirement benefits.

– Set aside $3 million annually to coordinate veterans programs

– Increase state funding for soldiers assistance program by $3 million

– Extend tuition rates at state public universities to non-resident soldiers and veterans.

– Create a one-stop informational Web site where all could find local, state, federal and nonprofit veterans information

– Give veterans preference on waiting lists for subsidized childcare and housing programs.

It’s never too late to show our support for men and women who have sacrificed living, working and playing in the land of the free, and in far too many cases, sacrificed their life. We applaud the governor’s proposal.