(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today announced Union County, Mitchell County, Dubuque County and the City of Marion have met the criteria to become designated as Home Base Iowa communities. Today they also announced all three Regents Institutions—University of Iowa, Iowa State University and University of Northern Iowa— Hawkeye Community College and University of Dubuque have become designated as Home Base Iowa Certified Higher Academic Military Partners (CHAMPs).
Union county, Mitchell County, Dubuque County and the City of Marion join the four existing communities – Greene County, Howard County, Clarke County and Floyd County – in becoming certified Home Base Iowa Communities. To become a Home Base Iowa Community, an area must meet the following criteria: 10% of its businesses sign on as Home Base Iowa Businesses; local government supports the effort; signage indicates the community is a Home Base Iowa Community and the community creates local incentives that offer additional benefits for Veterans and that complement those in the statewide Home Base Iowa Act.
“With almost 600 veterans hired through Home Base Iowa thus far, our Veterans jobs initiative is a growing success,” said Branstad. “As these additional communities, Union County, Mitchell County, Dubuque County and the City of Marion have demonstrated, Iowans are embracing this initiative to create communities that are attractive to Veterans and to provide transitioning military members with every opportunity for success.”
Five additional Home Base Iowa CHAMPS--the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, University of Northern Iowa, Hawkeye Community College and University of Dubuque—join the three existing HBI CHAMPs—Upper Iowa University, DMACC and Mount Mercy University. The Home Base Iowa CHAMP program allows Iowa colleges and universities to become certified for their ability to educate and assist veterans on campus. The certification will help attract veterans leaving the service to Iowa and help academic institutions market their campus as veteran friendly. To become a Home Base Iowa CHAMP campus, education institutions must meet criteria in each of the three categories: On-Campus Veteran Resources, Mindfulness of Service Member Transitions and Financial Considerations.
“Governor Branstad and I are pleased to see the continued support Home Base Iowa is receiving across the state,” said Reynolds. “Today’s announcement of additional Home Base Iowa Communities and Home Base Iowa Certified Higher Academic Military Partners ensures service members transitioning to civilian life have welcoming communities, educational resources and jobs—all here in Iowa.”
MORE INFORMATION ON EACH OF THE HOME BASE IOWA COMMUNITIES
The Union County Home Base Iowa Taskforce created a “Veterans Support Fund” in which a qualifying veteran can receive up to $2,000 to reside in Union County and be employed by a Union County Home Base Iowa Business. Additionally, qualifying veterans may receive up to $5,000 through the Southern Iowa Council of Governments Housing Trust Fund Military Homeownership Program, leveraging the state-wide incentive package. Media and the public are welcome to attend the formal announcement event on Thursday, December 11 at 10:00 a.m. at Greater Regional Medical Center MAP Conference Room, located at 1700 W. Townline St. in Creston. Questions on the local package should be addressed to the Union County Development Association.
Mitchell County is pleased that Home Base Iowa businesses in Mitchell County represent 1,149 jobs and 30% of the total employment base. These businesses provide fulltime employment opportunities with wages at or above the county – wide median and offer their employees extensive benefit programs. The Mitchell County Home Base Iowa Fund, with local support from our banking community, Shop On State, the Foundation for the Enhancement of Mitchell County and Mitchell County offers an additional $1,000 in down payment assistance toward the purchase of a new home for Veterans who choose to live and work in Mitchell County. Questions on the local incentive package should be directed to the Mitchell County Economic Development Commission.
The Marion Economic Development Company was successful in partnering with over 60 Marion companies signing on to the Home Base Iowa initiative. The City of Marion is one of the fastest growing cities in Iowa. Considering itself particularly welcoming for families, its incentive package includes vouchers and discounts to enjoy any of the municipal recreation opportunities in the community, and additional items to ensure a welcoming and seamless transition for military. Marion Economic Development Company should be contacted for additional information on local incentives.
Twenty-nine employers in Dubuque County signed on to become Home Base Iowa Businesses by pledging their commitment to hire Veterans. Dubuque County’s incentive package includes relocation, career and education assistance. Questions on the local incentive package should be directed to Greater Dubuque Development.
BACKGROUND ON THE HOME BASE IOWA ACT
Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds launched the Home Base Iowa initiative in November of 2013 at the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum at Camp Dodge. Branstad and Reynolds named Congressman Leonard Boswell and Casey’s CEO Bob Myers the co-chairs of the initiative.
The Home Base Iowa Act was signed into law on May 26, 2014. It passed the Iowa Senate 46-0 and the Iowa House 94-2. The Home Base Iowa initiative does the following:
- Fully exempts military pensions from state income tax.
- Gives veterans, their spouses and dependents in-state tuition at Iowa’s colleges and universities.
- Allows Iowa’s licensing boards to adopt rules allowing credit for military training and experience in the licensing process.
- Allows private-sector companies to follow the public sector’s lead by allowing a preference in hiring and promoting veterans.
- Eliminates the special plate issuance fees charged for plates associated with military service.
- Expands eligibility for the Military Homeownership Assistance Program, which provides $5,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance. Additional funding for the program is provided in a separate appropriations bill.
In addition to the Home Base Iowa Act, Branstad also signed Senate File 2352 in 2014.
Senate File 2352 an Act relating to the additional homestead credit for certain disabled veterans and including effective date and applicability provisions.
For more information on Home Base Iowa, please visit www.HomeBaseIowa.org.