Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Small Vets Tax Means Dedicated Funding Stream

Hats off to John Colone and other members of the Livingston County Veterans Commission for the work they did in persuading the Livingston County Commissioners to do their duty and approve a tiny tax for indigent veterans relief.

The commissioner approved the tax, which they are required by law to levy at some level anyway, Monday (June 15, 2009) night. The 1/20th of a mill will cost owners of a $150,000 home about a penny a day.

Commissioner Jack LaBelle says it will mean less money for veterans coming from the general fund, but commissioners need to be careful with that. Not everything that the county spends now for veterans qualifies as "relief," although "relief" can be defined by resolution as broader than just cash assistance to needy veterans. Given the level of need with two current wars and the aging of Vietnam-era veterans, the Veterans Commission will continue to see an increasing need. Veterans will need to keep an eye on the county commission's budgeting in the future to make sure commissioners don't take away with one hand what they have given with the other. After all, with a $20 million savings account, the county can afford to be a tiny bit generous to our veterans.

But at least the veterans now have a funding stream that is dedicated to their needs rather than having to compete with other general fund needs for cash.

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