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States Thank the Military

By Cindy Jackson, Communications Assistant, NMFA

May is National Military Appreciation Month—a time to honor, appreciate, and remember military personnel and their families for their service to our country.  It recognizes those on active duty, the National Guard and Reserves, retirees, veterans and all their families and survivors. As indicated below, many states show appreciation to the military in unique ways. 

Alabama. Operation Grateful Heart is a program to ensure all military personnel and their families receive appropriate recognition, tangible support, and neighborly care. It is focused on assisting those who are called upon to serve in the fight against terrorism and the defense of freedom, while they are serving on active duty and upon their return to communities in Alabama.

Alaska. Spouses and dependent children of a military member who is deceased or a POW/MIA may qualify for free tuition for the pursuit of an undergraduate degree at any state-supported educational institution within the state.

Arizona. Military retirement payments and/or survivor benefits up to $2,500 per year are exempt from state taxes.

Arkansas. Veterans may camp for half price in Arkansas State Parks.

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California. Education benefits are offered to dependents of qualified veterans by waiving mandatory system-wide tuition and fees at any State of California Community College, California State University, or University of California campus.

Colorado. Museum of Science and Nature gives free Museum admission to all active and retired military and their spouses, parents, siblings and children (18 and under).

Connecticut. Tuition waivers for veterans cover 100% of tuition for General Fund courses at all public colleges and universities and 50% for Extension Fund and summer courses at Connecticut State Universities.

Delaware. Military members, while stationed in the state, may obtain fishing, hunting, or trapping licenses at the resident rate, regardless of residency status.

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Florida. Several counties have established Active Military Combat Duty Grant Programs. The grant programs, which include property tax grants and direct grants, are designed to assist service members who are fighting in the Global War on Terrorism.

Georgia. Military personnel stationed in Georgia are allowed to obtain fishing and hunting licenses at the resident rate.

Hawaii. Most businesses, museums, tourist attractions and restaurants that offer a kama' aina [discounted] rate to Hawaii residents extend the same privilege to military and their dependents. 

Idaho. Air Force Appreciation Day is celebrated every year, to encourage neighborly growth and express their gratitude for the economic benefits the Air Force brings to Southern Idaho.

Illinois. The Illinois Military Family Relief Fund (IMFRF) provides monetary grants to families of Illinois National Guard members and Illinois residents serving in the U.S. Armed Forces Reserves.

Indiana. Members of the Indiana National Guard have 100% of their tuition paid when attending state colleges or universities for a first Associates or Bachelors degree.

Iowa. Certain National Guard members and retirees are eligible for property tax exemptions.

Kansas. The University of Kansas, in conjunction with the Army, has created the "Wounded Warrior Education Initiative" which allows wounded service members meeting the criteria to obtain a master’s degree.

Kentucky. The Kentucky Military Family Assistance Trust Fund will provide up to $5,000 in a 12-month period for emergencies and hardships that are directly caused by deployment outside the United States.

Louisiana. Members of the United States Armed Forces on active duty are given resident privileges for fishing and hunting licenses.

Maine. The Maine Military Family Relief Fund provides emergency assistance to qualified military members and dependents.

Maryland. Its “Salute to the Services” offers discounts to those who serve our country. Service members are invited to visit Ocean City, Maryland from May 17th to June 18th, 2008. Everything from lodging and dining and other activities are discounted as a way to say "Thank You" to those serving their country. Maryland also exempts the first $5,000 of military retired pay from MD State and local income taxes.

Massachusetts. Citizens of Massachusetts who are members of the National Guard (or any Reserve component) are eligible to receive monetary donations from The Friends of National Guard and Reserve Families Foundation to help ease financial hardship due to activation or extended military commitment.
Military retired pay is not taxed.

Michigan. Fishing licenses are available for $1 for service members stationed outside the state who have maintained residence status.

Minnesota. Citizens show their support and thanks to the military community by proudly sponsoring the Minnesotan’s Military Appreciation Fund, a state-wide fundraising initiative, which offers grants to military families, and sponsors Military Family Days at MN Twins and MN Timberwolves games.

Mississippi. Military personnel stationed in Mississippi are classified as state residents for the purposes of payment of tuition at state colleges and universities.

Missouri. The Kansas City Royals baseball team provides complimentary admission for all active and retired military personnel and their families to any Monday home game.

Montana. To show appreciation for the unparalleled sacrifices members of the military make, Montana offers “challenge coins” through the Montana Military Appreciation Project.  These coins are presented to Montana residents who are members of any of the branches of the Services who have served overseas in the war against terrorism, and family members of service men who are killed.

Nebraska. The University of Nebraska extends in-state residency status to active duty military personnel and their dependents whose permanent duty station or Home of Record is in Nebraska.

Nevada. Active duty service members and their families are exempt from university fees while permanently stationed on a military facility within Nevada.

New Jersey. An individual who is active duty military is allowed to hunt with a resident license, regardless of residency status.

New Mexico. Children between the ages of 16-26 whose veteran parent was killed in action or died as a result of their wounds incurred in battle, qualify for a full-tuition waiver at any state funded post-secondary school.

New Hampshire. Any resident who is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces is allowed to renew a driver’s license without a fee. 

New York. Military retired pay is not subject to state income tax.

North Carolina. To thank all military personnel, North Carolina is hosting MAD III (Military Appreciation Day) on June 7, 2008.

North Dakota. A dependent of a resident veteran, who was killed in action, is allowed to obtain a Bachelors degree or certificate of completion, free of any tuition and fee charges.

Ohio. Military retired pay received after Dec. 31, 2007, is exempt from state income taxes.

Oklahoma. Oklahoma’s Tuition Aid Grant (OTAG) may cover up to 50 percent of tuition costs depending upon eligibility.

Oregon. National Guard service members are exempt from jury duty.

Pennsylvania. The Military Family Relief Assistance Program (MFRAP) provides financial assistance, in the forms of grants, to eligible Pennsylvania service members and their families.

Rhode Island. The National Guard State Tuition Exemption Program provides one free course per semester at the Community College of Rhode Island, University of Rhode Island, or the Rhode Island College.

South Carolina. The Friends of Our Forces program works diligently to encourage a healthy and strong relationship between the armed forces and the business community, encouraging ALL businesses to offer discounts to military personnel and their families.

South Dakota. Military personnel stationed in South Dakota are eligible to obtain fishing and hunting licenses at the resident rate.

Tennessee. Military personnel stationed in Tennessee may obtain fishing and hunting licenses at the resident rate.

Texas. Military retired pay is exempt from state income taxes.

Utah. Residents who are members of the U.S. Armed Services and are stationed out of state may obtain certain property tax and vehicle exemptions.

Vermont. Service members and veterans are offered special discounts including, property tax exemptions, state employment preferences, education and tuition assistance, vehicle tags, and  hunting and fishing license privileges.

Virginia. The Military Survivors and Dependents Program (MSDEP) provides education benefits to spouses and children of service members killed, missing in action, taken prisoner, or who became at least 90 percent disabled as a result of military service in an armed conflict.

Washington. Qualified veterans are offered reduced fees and/or free passes to State parks and recreation facilities.

West Virginia. A fishing license is not required for residents on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces while on military leave.

Wisconsin. The State GI Bill provides a waiver (“remission”) of tuition and fees for eligible veterans and their dependents for up to 8 full-time semesters or 128 credits at any institution in the University of Wisconsin System (UWS),, or Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS),

Wyoming. Free tuition and fees for education are offered to the spouse and children of deceased veterans (whose death is service connected).

Many states offer state income tax breaks stay tuned for a follow-up article in November that will discuss these benefits in detail.

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