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Nebraska veterans aim for more legislation in 2021 unicameral session

Nebraska Veterans Coalition is a group of veterans and supporters who connect on Facebook and...
Nebraska Veterans Coalition is a group of veterans and supporters who connect on Facebook and beyond. For advice, to post columns, and about this time of year to decide on the issues to bring to Nebraska lawmakers.(Ellis Wiltsey)
Published: Nov. 11, 2020 at 10:02 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -Starting in 2022 half of a veteran’s benefits will be exempt from Nebraska’s state taxes.

Its legislation that was prioritized by the governor and many in the unicameral but veterans we spoke with Wednesday say changes are long overdue and more needs to be done to keep vets in Nebraska.

More than 13,000 Nebraska veterans stand to benefit from this change.

Nebraska Veterans Coalition is a group of veterans and supporters who connect on Facebook and beyond. For advice, to post columns, and about this time of year to decide on the issues to bring to Nebraska lawmakers.

“We’re not political we are people-oriented,” said Susan Schmidt a retired Lutenient Nurse in the U.S. Navy. “We want to do what we can to help our members and our members are our veterans and the rest of the people in this state.”

Schmidt and one of the groups' co-founders Ron Dupell are both retired military.

They say the legislation passed the last session is about 20 years in the making.

“Each state around Nebraska either does not have a state income tax or fully exempts military retirement,” said Dupell who is a retired Chief Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force. “In the last 18 months, each state around Nebraska has gained a significant number of Veterans. A five to 10% increase in their veteran force.”

Future goals include making retirement 100% exempt and other benefits like tax incentives when buying a car. The group also says Nebraska needs to continue to bring jobs and business to the state, to create paths for working for military members leaving the services.

Dupell says the whole idea is to make Nebraska an inviting place for veterans and military retirees.

“We usually get four,” said Dupell. “The veteran, the spouse, and usually about two children who are usually high school age, university age, or already working.”

Dupell says the group tries to work with all state senators, as their group spans the entirety of the state.

Senator Tom Brewer is who introduced the tax cut legislation says he’s already prepping for the upcoming session.

“We are looking at a number of veterans bills,” said Brewer. “We are open to any good ideas so we can have that researched before January.”

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