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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Bob Dettmer (R)

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Friday, February 15, 2013

ST. PAUL – State Representative Bob Dettmer (R-Forest Lake) has introduced and signed on to nearly a dozen pieces of legislation dealing with veterans’ issues at the Capitol. Dettmer most recently partnered with legislators from both parties and the MN Secretary of State to sponsor a statewide employer tax credit to encourage the hiring of veterans. His other work in recent weeks includes the elimination of state income tax paid by veterans on their pensions and more legal protection for volunteers in the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Program.

The unemployed veteran hiring tax credit bill (HF532) has strong support from a number of veterans and veterans’ advocacy groups, many of which were represented at a press conference held on Monday. Among the groups represented were the Military Action Group (MAG), the United Veterans Legislative Council (UVLC), the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV), and the Association of the United States Army (AUSA).

“Veterans in Minnesota who have served since 2001 have an unemployment rate of 23%, the third-highest in America,” said Dettmer. "For those that have served our country, we must do all we can to encourage businesses to hire these highly skilled professionals with unique skills and talents."



Minnesota Secretary of State also offered support for the vets hiring bill. “This legislation is win-win for both companies and veterans and ultimately benefits our entire state,” Ritchie said. “As a member of the Minnesota National Guard’s Senior Advisory Council, I understand the importance of putting their training and skills to work in good-paying jobs that can support their families.”

Several military advocacy groups have also been supportive of Dettmer’s bill exempting military retirement pay from taxation (HF60). Minnesota is currently only one of six states nationwide that still tax the retirement pay for military members. Dettmer’s legislation aims to attract more retiring vets to the state, ultimately bringing in millions in economic activity and a new wave of talent for hiring employers to take advantage of. HF 60 would do away with the state income tax on the pensions of retired members of the military. So far, the bill has over 15 co-authors from both parties.

“This is a simple change we can make to state law that will have a strong impact for those that have served and to the entire state,” Dettmer said. “We all benefit from the experiences and capital that retiring vets bring when they settle in Minnesota.”

While Dettmer and veteran organizations have advocated for this change for several years, the state of Wisconsin and other neighboring states have already made military retirement pay tax-exempt. Dettmer, who also serves as Co-Chair of the Military Action Group (MAG) at the Capitol, has convened several meetings on these issues with military and veterans group representatives this session.

You can find all legislation Rep. Dettmer has co-authored this session by visiting his legislative homepage here.