More than a quarter of a million Iowans have, at some point in their lives, served in the U.S. military.
Senate President Jack Kibbie, a Democrat from Emmetsburg, is a Korean War veteran who’s been trying to change the legal definition of just who is considered a veteran. "Change it so that anybody with an honorable discharge that’s served in the military is going to be considered a veteran in this state and be able to take advantage of any of the veterans’ benefits," Kibbie says. "Now that has a cost to it and its basic cost is generally with veterans’ tax exemption on their homes."
Under current law, a veteran in Iowa is someone who served during a time of war. It means about 6000 Iowans who served in the military, but served during peacetime, are not eligible for the property tax credit.
Critics of the move said the cost to the state would be too great, as the state often forwards money to counties to cover the expense of those property tax credits. "Many veterans are passing on, the older ones, so I don’t think it would have been as expensive as estimated," Kibbie says.
Kibbie, who is 78, says the limited legal definition of a veteran also means peacetime veterans cannot serve in certain posts. Kibbie says it’s getting harder to find wartime veterans to serve on county commissions as every day there are fewer World War II and Korean War veterans like himself who remain living in Iowa.
Kibbie made his comments on the Iowa Journal, an Iowa Public Television program that airs tonight at 6:30.