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Author Topic: Veterans: We Love You, But You're Too Expensive  (Read 1844 times)

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Offline DoggyDaddy

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Veterans: We Love You, But You're Too Expensive
« on: March 31, 2015, 01:09:58 am »
Veterans: We Love You, But You're Too Expensive
We have noticed for awhile now the distance between all of the public fawning over veterans by politicians and at sports events, concerts and parades, and the reality of what is being done for veterans by the government.  While all the good words are nice, they don't really help veterans in the ways they need help.
Retiree veterans especially have been the target of governmental efforts to cut their earned benefits because "they cost too much."  DoD has also decided active duty personnel are too expensive so they've reduced the pay raise that had been authorized by Congress for the last two years and they are reducing the housing allowance.  That seems like cheap patriotism to us.
However, it turns out the federal government isn't alone in deciding veterans are too expensive.  The state of Texas may be deciding the same thing.
For years Texas promised to pay for the education of its veterans by picking up the tab after federal benefits under the G.I. bill were gone.  However, in 2007 the Texas legislature passed a law that allowed the education benefit to be passed on to the children of veterans.  And in 2009 the benefit was expanded again to include spouses of veterans who were injured, missing or killed in action.  But now many legislators have decided the program is too expensive.
Texas has the second highest number of veterans in the nation and it is one of only two states to waive all tuition and fees for veterans who meet the requirements.  Prior to expanding the benefit about 10,000 veterans used the state's education benefit.  But last year 39,000 veterans used it.
Texas law says that an individual must be a resident of Texas before joining the military but in 2014 a veteran from Georgia who is living in Texas challenged that requirement in a lawsuit.  In January a federal judge ruled the provision unconstitutional and said that student was entitled to the benefit.  Texas is appealing the ruling and there is fear on the part of some legislators and others that if the appeal fails, other veterans may decide to relocate to Texas to take advantage of the program and result in soaring costs to the state.
However, the executive director of the Texas Veterans Commission believes the fears are premature because he doesn't believe mass numbers of veterans will move to Texas for the benefit.  In spite of that a half-dozen bills have been introduced in the legislature to amend the law and several of them would require a veteran to be a resident of Texas for eight years before being eligible for the benefit.
No change to the law has yet been passed but clearly there is a possibility it could yet happen.
It is troubling when federal and state governments promise benefits and then decide it's too expensive, although in this case the ruling of the federal judge could not have been anticipated when the legislature passed the law.  At the very least, we would urge the legislature to grandfather in anyone who joined the service while the law was in effect.  A promise made to service members should not be broken.  If the legislature decides it's too expensive then they should end the program for any new service entrants.
We are less sympathetic to the federal government, although the same principle should hold.  Anyone who enters the service while a benefit is in effect should be entitled to that benefit, even if it is done away with for new service entrants.  But the federal government has the additional burden of making sure its actions are not detrimental to the survival of the all volunteer force, unless it decides it wants to reinstitute the draft.
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Joe Kleinsmith
All State VFW Post 1716 Cmdr (1998-2000)
Cpt, VFW Post Honor Guard, Retired (1991-2009)
SC-SB County Council Cmdr (1996-1997)
SFC, US Army, Retired (1971-1991)
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Offline DoggyDaddy

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Re: Veterans: We Love You, But You're Too Expensive
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2015, 01:13:01 am »
I can not understand how the Texas law saying that an individual must be a resident of Texas before joining the military is unconstitutional.  All states have that provision in their laws regarding their State Veterans Bonus's.
Joe Kleinsmith
All State VFW Post 1716 Cmdr (1998-2000)
Cpt, VFW Post Honor Guard, Retired (1991-2009)
SC-SB County Council Cmdr (1996-1997)
SFC, US Army, Retired (1971-1991)
Full Time RV'er
www.vfwwebcom.org/ca/post1716
http://vfwwebcom.org/ca/Post1716HonorGuard/