Stimulus: veterans

Veterans received more than $15 billion from the stimulus bill.

Though they make up a small segment of U.S. citizens, veterans are a large benefactor in the stimulus bill, and may also get more money while budget cuts are seen in other state spending. The stimulus bill will provide veterans with both direct and indirect aid, adding up to $15.8 billion. At the same time, Gov. Tim Pawlenty is planning to withhold cuts from veteranâÄôs affairs spending, while looking for other ways to slim the stateâÄôs budget in a growing multi-billion dollar deficit, Tim Michaels , the State Senate Veterans and Agriculture Committee administrator, said. At the federal level, disabled veterans will receive direct benefits in the form of one-time payments of $250 and all businesses can claim a tax credit for 40 percent of the first $6,000 of wages paid to unemployed veterans, according to The Wall Street Journal, which received its information from the House Committee on Rules, Joint Committee on Taxation and Congressional Budget Office. Other indirect benefits include renovation to national cemeteries and veteran medical facilities, grants to build new veteran care facilities and money to improve veteran affairs benefits administration. This is good news for the close to 600 veterans going to school at the University of Minnesota, Alexander Dowds , co-president of the Student Veterans Association , said. Dowds said although he âÄú[knows] that moneyâÄôs a little tight in the economy, itâÄôs hard to ask for something,âÄù but these benefits will especially help disabled veterans get through school. Other local benefits for veterans may also increase at the state level. In the 2006-2008 biennium, state spending on veteranâÄôs affairs increased 70 percent, mainly because of the large number of National Guard members who were entering U.S. war zones, Michaels said. Michaels said these measures passed unanimously in committee, and there has been large support for continuing all of the veterans programs.