Sunday, 03 March 2024

Schwarzenegger signs bills supporting veterans

SACRAMENTO – Last week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed SB 1572 by Sen. Mark Wyland (R-Carlsbad), which places the Veterans Bond Act of 2008 on the Nov. 4 statewide ballot.

If approved by voters, the measure would help thousands of veterans of recent conflicts buy a home or farm through the state's CalVet Home Loan program.

The bond act would have no impact on the state's General Fund because veterans repay the bond costs through low-interest mortgages.

"The Veterans Bond Act will help California's veterans achieve the American dream of homeownership," said Schwarzenegger. "I'm asking voters to say yes in November so that veterans who risked their lives in places like Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan will be eligible to join the more than 420,000 others who have bought a home with a CalVet loan – at no expense to taxpayers."

The Veterans Bond Act of 2008 asks voters to approve $900 million in Veterans General Obligation Bonds, which will allow the California Department of Veterans Affairs to fund the purchase of homes and farms for veterans under the CalVet Home Loan Program. This money will fund approximately 1,300 low-interest loans for California veterans without expense to the state's General Fund.

The bond act also provides for the provision of CalVet Home Loans to veterans of recent conflicts. Previously, only veterans who served from the end of World War I to the Vietnam era were eligible to apply for CalVet home loans.

The governor noted that the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008 (HEART Act), signed into law by President Bush last month, was actively pushed by the Schwarzenegger administration and that the bond act is the next step toward providing low-interest loans to veterans of recent wars.

The federal legislation (HR 6081) makes veterans who entered active military duty after Dec. 31, 1976 eligible to apply for Qualified Veterans Mortgage Bond funded loans under the state's longstanding CalVet Home Loan Program.

Since 1922, the CalVet Home Loan Program has helped more than 420,000 wartime veterans buy a home or farm, at no expense to the state's General Fund. The program currently has more than 13,000 active loans to veterans in this state and the costs of administering the program and servicing the debt on the bonds is covered by the payments veterans make on their loans.

On July 15 the governor also signed SB 1680, a bill authored by Sen. Mark Wyland (R-Carlsbad). This bill allows California Community Colleges and the California State University, and encourages the University of California, to coordinate services for students who are veterans or members of the military by designating Military and Veterans Offices to provide specified services

At the event, the governor noted he looks forward to signing SB 1455 when it reaches his desk.

Authored by Sen. Dave Cogdill (R-Modesto) and Sen. Jeff Denham (R-Merced), SB 1455 would honor those who died while serving our nation by allowing their family members to display a special "Gold Star" license plate on their vehicles.


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