As Veterans Day approaches, military retirees are moving out of Nebraska to neighboring states with better benefits for service members.
In an effort to retain veterans, the Nebraska legislature in 2020 unanimously approved a 50% state income tax break for military retirees. This monumental law is thanks, in part, to a Facebook group, Nebraska Veterans Coalition, that collects input from and advocates for veterans.
“As a state, we’ve lost over 10% of our veterans, and surrounding states have gained five or more percent,” Nebraska Veterans Coalition group admin Ron Dupell said. “We contacted and met with legislators to promote ways we can reverse that trend.” Nebraskan’s knows the value of veterans and wants the local government to reflect that.
While Dupell sees the new 50% tax break as a step in the right direction, his nonpartisan Facebook group is pushing for Nebraska to exempt the entire income of military retirees. They are also developing proposals to partially exempt all veterans from a portion of the property tax levied on vehicles.
Dupell helped found the Nebraska Veterans Coalition group in 2014 as a means of sharing information among Nebraska veterans. Over the last couple of years, he and his fellow admins have worked tirelessly in support of military retirees. Their efforts range from improving access to jobs to providing honorary license plates to commemorate service. Dupell says the Facebook group was a valuable resource in building a powerful movement.
“Facebook is a great way to communicate a lot of information to a lot of people,” Dupell said. “We post articles, helpful guides, and updates on our current projects that instantly reach nearly 5,000 people. We’ve created an entire community of support, and it’s all happening within our group.”
Since its founding, Dupell says the group has grown at around 13% per year and currently has 4,541 members.
While the Nebraska Veterans Coalition focuses on helping military retirees, its work benefits all Nebraskans. “Veterans are a key demographic. In many cases, they’re younger, skilled employees who can really help our workforce and overall economy. They also deserve the utmost respect and support for their service,” Dupell said. Dupell says he used to consider moving to another state, where veterans see more benefits, but his commitment to Nebraskans is unwavering.
“I could be closer to family and definitely see some more support for my service, but there’s still a lot of work to be done here, and I’m committed to seeing it through,” Dupell said.v This Veterans Day, Dupell asks all Nebraskans to consider the importance of supporting military retirees and to reflect on how the Cornhusker state may improve its policies.
For more information, visit the Nebraska Veterans Coalition on Facebook or reach out to the media contact listed below. Ron Dupell is further available for interviews to discuss his group’s