Representative Carlo Basile and Senator Mike Rush, Co –Chairs of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs, recently released a detailed report revealing that Massachusetts continues to lead to the nation in providing benefits and services to veterans, military members, and their families.
The report contains two direct comparisons. The first associates a 2011 Department of Veterans’ Affairs population model with the 2011 State and Local Government Finances Summary published by the U.S. Census, allowing for a state-by-state comparison of expenditures aimed at veteran populations in the states. The second is a state-by-state look at veterans’ benefits programs gleaned from publicly available websites administered by state veterans’ services or veterans’ affairs departments.
The findings are further cross-referenced with the 2011 National Governors Association Report on State Support for Military, Veterans and Their Families. This report also includes information from a November 2012 report published by the Military Officers Association of America entitled “State Report Card.” The publication ranked Massachusetts tied at the top in terms of offering programs and services that “improve quality of life for military retirees, veterans, and family members.”
According to the released report, Massachusetts ranks first in the nation by local and state government expending more than two times as many resources per veteran as any other state. The Commonwealth spent $173 per person on its more than 388,000 veterans in 2011, more than twice the amount spent by the next closest states, Illinois ($86) and Iowa ($84). Furthermore, Massachusetts leads the nation in the number of benefits programs available to its veterans, by offering 67 services targeted for veterans. This is more than the second closest state and almost twice the number of financial assistance programs offered by any other state.
“I am proud of the work that our elected and appointed officials do here in the Commonwealth to recognize that one of the most important jobs that we do is to provide for our veterans and their family members,” said Basile. “I also want to commend the veterans’ community who strongly advocate for their own by keeping issues that are important to them on the forefront of important policymaking.”
Last year, Massachusetts passed the VALOR Act, a nationally recognized veterans’ omnibus bill to help veterans, service members, and their families. Building on the successes of the VALOR Act, the House and Senate recently passed VALOR Act II, which in the next few weeks will be going to the Governor for his approval.
“The citizens of the Commonwealth have a long and successful tradition in caring for our veterans,” said Rush. “We have not rested on our successes. The Legislature, Governor Patrick, and Department of Veterans’ Services Secretary Coleman Nee continue to do all that is possible to ensure Massachusetts is appropriately providing for our veterans and their families.”