From Senator Amanda Ragan –
On Monday, March 9, State Senator Amanda Ragan of Mason City helped the Iowa Senate pass legislation to guarantee stable income for the Iowa Veterans Trust Fund. If Senate File 323 becomes law, the fund will receive $2.5 million a year from the Iowa Lottery.
“We owe veterans so much,” said Ragan. “That’s why I strongly support the Veterans Trust Fund (helped create the Veterans Trust fund in 2007). The services it funds are crucial for veterans in serious need.”
The Iowa Veterans Trust Fund is a multi-million dollar fund which helps provide specific services to Iowa veterans. Trust fund expenditures are approved through the Iowa Veterans Commission. The funds provide:
· Unemployment or underemployment assistance due to service-related causes
· Assistance with vision, hearing, dental care, durable medical equipment, and prescription drugs
· Counseling and substance abuse services
· Housing repair
· Transitional housing in an emergency
“These men and women interrupted their careers and put their lives and future health on the line for their country,” said Ragan. “I want Iowa to continue to be a leader in the support of our veterans.”
The needs of service members returning to Iowa from overseas deployments, some with medical hardships, have increased the financial pressure on the fund. The recent national recession also increased the demand for assistance.
The Veterans Trust Fund is currently funded by a series of four veteran-themed games (two scratch games and two pull-tab games) run by the Iowa Lottery. Income from those games is declining. Senate File 323 addresses that problem by guaranteeing that $2.5 million in lottery revenues will be transferred annually to the trust fund. That amount is the average of the amount provided by the lottery in previous years.
“Iowa veterans deserve more help,” said Ragan. “This legislation is a long-term commitment for better services for thousands of Iowa veterans.”