*State Veterans Legislative Update 11 March 2017: SB 1443 ‘veterans’ donation fund: tax credit’

Action is needed to get Arizona SB 1443 ‘veterans’ donation fund: tax credit’ to the House for a vote. It would establish the current Veterans’ Donation Fund as an AZ Tax Credit donation organization for the period 1 Jan 2018 to 31 Dec 2025 to augment its current source of funding to benefit Arizona Veterans of all eras including post 9/11/2001 (9-11) Veterans who are now served by the Military Family Relief Fund (MFRF). The Bill would terminate tax credit donations to the MFRF at the end of 2017, a year earlier than currently scheduled, but would extend the time for disposition of unused funds at the end of 2017 to post 9-11 Veterans to 31 Dec 2025. The MFRF currently has over $6 million of the approximately $9 million dollars in donations received over the past 9 plus years. Any unused funds as of 31 Dec 2025 would be transferred to the Veteran’s Donation Fund as originally planned for the MFRF program in 2018. This extension of time to dispose of remaining MFRF funds will “maintain faith” with those Arizona taxpayers who specifically donated for the purposes of assisting post 9-11 Veterans and their families, and it will encourage accomplishing this by 2025. Concurrently, establishing the current Veterans’ Donation fund as an AZ Tax Credit donation organization will benefit Veterans of all eras through at least 2025.

Please consider sending the draft message at the end of this Email to all Arizona State Representatives ASAP to encourage their support for moving the SB 1443 to committee and a House vote

When you are ready to forward the Message at the end of this Legislative Update to all State Representatives, copy everything beginning with this paragraph and everything below the Blue Line below, including: Subject: SB 1443: veterans’ donation fund: tax credit, the list of Arizona House of Representatives Email addresses with Semi-colons, and the Draft Message that is shown below the list of Email addresses.

Then open a New Email on you computer as you usually do and paste what  you just copied including these instructions as the text of that New Email. Then add your name at the ‘X’ after ‘Respectfully’. Don’t include your address as some legislators may delete your Email if they see the address is not in the area of their constituency. Then copy ” SB 1443: veterans’ donation fund: tax credit ” at the beginning of the  text that you just pasted and paste it as the subject of your New Email.

Then copy the list of Arizona House of Representatives Email addresses with Semi-colons Email Addresses from the text of your new Email and paste it on the Bcc: line of your new Email. Be careful not to hit Send until after you complete the next step in this process!!!!!

Then delete every thing before “Dear State Representative” in your New Message, and review what’s left to see that it just includes the Message that you want to send and you signature. Then you can hit SEND. 

______________________________________________________________________________

Subject: SB 1443: veterans’ donation fund: tax credit

Arizona House of Representatives Email addresses with Semi-colons:

jallen@azleg.gov; lalston@azleg.gov; randrade@azleg.gov; bbarton@azleg.gov; wbenally@azleg.gov; iblanc@azleg.gov; rbolding@azleg.gov; rbowers@azleg.gov; pboyer@azleg.gov; kbutler@azleg.gov; ncampbell@azleg.gov; mcardenas@azleg.gov; hcarter@azleg.gov; cchavez@azleg.gov; kclark2@azleg.gov; tclodfelter@azleg.gov; rcobb@azleg.gov; dcoleman@azleg.gov; dcook@azleg.gov; edescheenie@azleg.gov; kengel@azleg.gov; mepstein@azleg.gov; despinoza@azleg.gov; efarnsworth@azleg.gov; cfernandez@azleg.gov; mfinchem@azleg.gov; rfriese@azleg.gov; rgabaldon@azleg.gov; sgonzales@azleg.gov; tgrantham@azleg.gov; dhernandez@azleg.gov; djohn@azleg.gov; akern@azleg.gov; jlawrence@azleg.gov; vleach@azleg.gov; dlivingston@azleg.gov; plovas@azleg.gov; rmartinez@azleg.gov; jmesnard@azleg.gov; dmitchell@azleg.gov; pmosley@azleg.gov; tnavarrete@azleg.gov; jnorgaard@azleg.gov; bnutt@azleg.gov; kpayne@azleg.gov; ppowershannley@azleg.gov; rrios@azleg.gov; trivero@azleg.gov; jrubalcava@azleg.gov; msaldate@azleg.gov; asalman@azleg.gov; dshooter@azleg.gov; tshope@azleg.gov; dstringer@azleg.gov; msyms@azleg.gov; bthorpe@azleg.gov; ktownsend@azleg.gov; mudall@azleg.gov; mugenti-rita@azleg.gov; jweninger@azleg.gov;

                                                     Draft Message

Dear State Representative,

As an Arizona Veteran, I encourage you to support Senate Bill SB 1443: ‘veterans’ donation fund: tax credit’. This Bill would establish the current Veterans’ Donation Fund (VDF) as an AZ Tax Credit donation organization for the period 1 Jan 2018 through at least 31 Dec 2025 to augment its current sources of resources for financially assisting Arizona Veterans of all eras of service and their families, including post 9/11/2001 (9-11) Veterans who are now served by the Military Family Relief Funds (MFRF). It would cap annual donations at one million dollars, as has been the case for the MFRF over the past 9 plus years.

This bill has no fiscal impact except to move the existing AZ tax credit from the MFRF to the VDF. And the bill very importantly maintains integrity for the use of the accumulated donations already made to the MFRF.

Background/History: In 2007, United States armed forces were heavily engaged in both Operation Iraq Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan. Service members from Arizona, including members of the Arizona National Guard, were being killed and wounded in these actions as is still happening today.

To provide assistance to those Arizona service members wounded and/or injured in the ongoing conflicts and their families, the 48th Arizona Legislature established the MFRF to provide financial assistance to family members of military personnel killed or wounded or who become ill in the line of duty and who were deployed post 9-11 from a military base in Arizona or who were members of the Arizona Army or Air National Guard.  This legislation also created an AZ tax credit for donations to the MFRF that currently runs through 2018.

The major complaint from some sections of the Arizona Veteran community have about the MFRF is that, as designed by the Legislature, it only assists post 9-11 veterans and that the tax credit donations over the ears have accumulated which, due to the narrow definition of the Fund’s purpose, and will not be expended for those purposes by the time the program is currently scheduled to terminate in 2018. As of January 2017 there were more than $6-million of unused funds in the MFRF because the funds have not been utilized at the rate originally expected. However, during 2016, approximately $624-thousand had been granted to applicants, demonstrating that there is still a need for those Funds.

In 1999, the Arizona Legislature created the Veterans’ Donation Fund (VDF) which, by statute is “used for the benefit of the veterans within this state with grants.” Historically, grants from the VDF are given to Arizona 501 c-3 non-profits and veteran service organizations that directly assist Arizona Veterans throughout the state and Veterans of all service eras. Currently, most of the monies in the VDF are currently raised by the sale of Veterans “Freedom” and other license plates.

SB 1443 would terminate tax credit donations to the MFRF beginning in 2018, but would extend the time for disposition of the some $6-million dollars of currently unused funds to post 9-11 Veterans and their families to at least 31 Dec 2025. At the current rate of utilization, that $6-million will probably be sufficient for all post 9-11 Veteran needs until 2025. And extending the use of those MFRF funds, as originally intended, to 2025  will “maintain faith” with those Arizona taxpayers who specifically donated for the purposes of assisting post 9-11 Veterans and their families.

By transferring the tax credit to the Veterans’ Donation Fund, new monies raised in this manner will be used for a myriad of needs which will benefit all Arizona Veterans who are in need of financial assistance throughout the State. This will make more money available to Veterans of all eras of service.

Please urge your colleagues to support SB 1443 and do what you can to get it on the Ways and Means Committee agenda and on any other necessary committee agendas, or possibly through a Strike Everything Bill, as may be needed to get it to a House vote ASAP during this Legislative Session, as needed to enable continued financial assistance for Arizona Veterans of all eras and their families.

Respectfully,

X