The Veterans of Foreign War's (VFW) in Missouri has developed a resolution accompanied by petitions that will be presented at the Veterans Rally that will be held on Sept. 14 at the capitol in Jefferson City.
The resolution is asking for support in establishing a dedicated funding source, which is sufficient to replace the general revenue funding requirements for 100 percent funding of the Veterans Commission programs, the Missouri Veterans Homes and Missouri Veterans cemeteries.
According to a spokesperson at the office of Larry Kay, executive director of the Missouri Veterans Commission, there are seven Veterans homes in Missouri that care for 1,331 veterans. The cost to maintain the seven homes for a year is $73.2 million.
There are five operational veterans cemeteries in Missouri. Maintenance fees per year total $2.5 million.
The resolution being promoted by the VFW in Missouri, reads as follows:
"Whereas; for the past five budget years GR (general revenue) appropriations sufficient to meet the budgetary requirements of the Veterans Commission and programs have not been requested or appropriated and expenditure of money from the Veterans Commission Capital Improvement Trust Fund (TF) has been necessary to make up the short fall in GR, and
"Whereas; the TF will be at a zero dollar balance in the last part of fiscal year 2012 and all of 2013, and
"Whereas; if additional funding is not made available during Legislative Year 2012 (January through May 2012), it will become necessary to begin the process of closing beds, wings, and, possibly close one or more homes and cemeteries, and
"Whereas; the current waiting list for admission to Missouri Veterans homes is over 1,600, and if such closings are permitted to happen the number, waiting will increase, and
"Whereas; if homes are closed, Missouri State will owe the Department of Veterans Affairs for the Federal share of 65 percent of the unappreciated costs of the homes, now, therefore be it
"Resolved; by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Department of Missouri that the VFW URGE the 2nd Session of the 96th General Assembly while convened in Jefferson City to enact legislation approving a one dollar ($1) addition to the entry fee to all Missouri gaming boats and that the entire one dollar ($1) be deposited in a dedicated Veterans Commission Fund, and be it further
"Resolved; that the VFW and its entire membership be instructed that this is the highest priority and that this be communicated to the Governor, all members of the Legislature and the executive director and commissioners of the Missouri Veterans Commission.
"Approved by the 91st Department Convention assembled on June 11, 2011. Official: Jessie L. Jones, Adjutant/Quartermaster, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of Missouri. Olin Parks, State Commander."
Petitions are available to sign at the VFW Post #4207, located on Highway 60, west of Monett and at The Monett Times Newspaper, located at 505 Broadway in downtown Monett. Deadline for signatures is Sept. 6.