May 16, 2017 - (Cherokee and Council Bluffs, Iowa) Today, Governor Terry E. Branstad participated in ceremonies hosted by veterans, local businesses and community leaders to celebrate the achievement of Cherokee County and Pottawattamie County in becoming certified Home Base Iowa (HBI) Communities. Cherokee County and Pottawattamie County, along with fourteen cities and towns in Pottawattamie County, are the 48th and 49th to certify.
"This program is leading the nation through statewide collaboration with businesses, communities, state agencies, veteran support groups and higher education institutions connecting veterans and their families with opportunities in our great state,” said Branstad. “As a veteran myself, I am pleased to know that we have raised the bar considerably higher in connecting veterans and their families with resources and careers in Iowa.”
Home Base Iowa is a one-of-a-kind program that continues to assist veterans and transitioning service members by connecting them with over 1,500 businesses and over 65 HBI communities statewide. The program continues to advance with the “Find a Veteran” feature for businesses and communities looking to hire or attract highly-qualified veterans and their families. This feature allows access to all active veteran job seekers, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It also allows users to sort job seeker(s) based upon location and/or primary industry to enable direct contact and marketing to those veterans.
HBI’s collaborative efforts help connect veterans and their families to resources and benefits in a state that values and honors their service. These benefits include no state taxes on military pensions, in-state tuition, and down payment assistance and closing costs towards a qualifying home purchase. Iowa also offers a cost of living below the national average and one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, currently 3.1 percent. Wallet Hubs “2016’s Best & Worst States for Military Retirees,” ranked Iowa first-in-the-nation in the categories of “Most Veteran Job Opportunities” and “Most Affordable Housing.” Additionally, Iowa ranked third in the “Lowest Percentage of Homeless Veterans” and ninth in “Veteran Healthcare.”
Home Base Iowa designates qualified communities as centers of opportunity for military veterans based on four standards:
- within a designated community, 10 percent of the businesses must become Home Base Iowa businesses,
- community develops its own incentive package for veterans,
- community prominently displays Home Base Iowa Community designation, and
- community must obtain a resolution of support from the appropriate local governing body
Both Cherokee County and Pottawattamie County have met or exceeded these requirements.
Home Base Iowa is a unique, non-profit, private-public partnership focused on recruiting veterans and active duty service members for quality, well-paying, private-sector jobs in Iowa. The Home Base Iowa Act provides the following incentives:
- Military Pension Income Tax Exemption - fully exempts military pensions from state income tax.
- Permissive Veterans Hiring Preference - allows veterans preferential treatment in hiring decisions for both public and private organizations.
- Military Homeownership Assistance Program - provides veterans up to $7,500 towards down payment assistance or closing costs of a home through the Iowa Finance Authority.
- Higher Education Incentives – provides automatic, in-state tuition to veterans, their spouse and their dependents.
The initiative is currently co-chaired by Congressman Leonard Boswell and former Casey’s CEO Bob Meyers, both of whom are veterans. To learn more about Home Base Iowa, visit HomeBaseIowa.gov.
For more information contact:
Jason Kemp, 515.822.8951
Home Base Iowa Program Manager