Florida wants to be the most “Veteran Friendly State”, and this year’s legislation provided more than just lip service to the claim with the Florida GI Bill – HB 7015. Senate President Don Gaetz says, ” this makes Florida the most military friendly state in the nation and supports the brave men and women who protect us at home and abroad”.
The bill provides for:
- ″ Guarantees honorably discharged veterans in-state college tuition, even if they have lived here less than a year.
- ″ Pumps about $22 million into initiatives that benefit the military and veterans, including funding to buy land near military installations to give them buffer zones and money to renovate Florida National Guard armories.
- ″ Provides funding for deployed National Guard members to receive a four-year bachelor’s degree through online courses.
- ″ Expands which veterans get preference in public employment to include members of the U.S. Armed Forces Reserves and the Florida National Guard.
- ″ Waives fees for professional licenses for 60 months after honorable discharge, up from the current 24 months.
- ″ Creates “Florida Is for Veterans, Inc.,” a nonprofit to promote Florida as the place for veterans to live.
- ″ Authorizes the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs to sell memorial bricks that will be used for a Florida Veterans’ Walk of Honor and Memorial Garden in Tallahassee.
Five reasons Florida is one of the nation’s friendliest to veterans
Jobs. Florida gives veterans preference in employment and retention for positions in state government, county government and political subdivisions of the state. It allows private employers to provide veteran’s preference in employment. Professional license fees are waived for up to five years after discharge. State officials say many other states offer some of these, but few offer as many benefits to veterans.
Education benefits. Free college tuition is available for Purple Heart recipients and children and spouses of service members who died in the line of duty. Starting July 1, in-state tuition is available to all veterans, regardless of residency.
Property tax exemptions. Veterans with service related disabilities of 10 percent or greater receive an additional $5,000 exemption on their property tax. Veterans with service-related total disabilities are exempt paying property taxes on their primary residence.
State veterans’ nursing homes. The state has six facilities operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, including one in Pembroke Pines.
Benefits and fee waivers. Veterans can get a “V” on their license to prove veteran status for services and discounts.
If you are a Veteran and would like to know more about moving to Southwest Florida, TIME Realty Services is here to help!