If passed, Issue 1 will generate $200 million for Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq veterans

Leila Archer

Government will sell bonds for bonuses

Veterans of the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts may be eligible for a monetary bonus if Issue 1 passes.

Issue 1 would allow the state government to sell bonds to give as a bonus to current and former veterans. Issue 1 will not be a new tax for Ohio residents. The money raised by the bonds will not exceed $200 million, which will be used to pay for the bonuses.

The state will sell bonds to investors, but an interest rate has not yet been decided. The Ohio Department of Veteran Services expects the interest rate to be about 5.25 percent, that is, about $94 million over the course of 15 years.

Any excess money generated from the sale of bonds will be deposited in the state’s general revenue fund.

“If approved by the voters, Issue 1 will generate ‘new’ money from the sale of bonds, and that money will be the source of funding for the veterans’ bonus,” according to the Ohio Department of Veterans Services.

The department also estimates about 200,000 veterans are eligible for the bonus. Veterans who fought in combat zones could receive from $100 to $1,000 every month per month of service, while those who were stationed in domestic or foreign services could receive $50 to $500 monthly.

Veterans who were medically discharged or retired for combat-related disabilities could receive $1,000.

Families of eligible veterans who are deceased could be entitled to $5,000. Soldiers and families of soldiers who are missing in action or prisoners of war could also be entitled to $5,000.

Veterans are not eligible if they already have a bonus from another state.

Cameron Plant, junior political science major and veteran of the Iraq war, said he was glad Issue 1 is on the ballot.

“I know me, being in school, that I’ve got the GI Bill kind of helping me, supporting me . I know a lot of veterans aren’t able to meet their basics needs and everything,” he said.

While it is not certain when veterans will start receiving the money, the Ohio Department of Veterans Services estimates that after the election results are confirmed, it will take about 90 days for the Joint Committee on Agency Review to approve the bonds. It may then take up to 90 days to sell the bonds, and the first payment will likely not be made before next May.

Jim Gravelle, director of communications for the Ohio Department of Veterans Services, said he is confident the issue will pass because it is a good issue, it makes sense and it is the first issue on the ballot.

“This is an absolute opportunity for Ohio voters to say ‘thank you’ to the men and women who stand in harm’s way,” he said.

Contact public affairs reporter Leila Archer at [email protected].