Making North Carolina the Nation’s No. 1 Military-Friendly State
North Carolina is home to nearly 100,000 active duty military members, 670,000 veterans and vital military bases that deploy troops around the world:
- The Army’s Fort Bragg
- The Marines’ Camp Lejeune and Air Station Cherry Point
- Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.
- The Coast Guard’s Base Support Unit Elizabeth City.
- Numerous National Guard facilities across the state
We must ask ourselves: Are we doing everything we can to support them? Are we showing our respect and appreciation for our military heroes?
The answer today is no.
Under a Forest administration, North Carolina won’t just talk about being military friendly. We’re going to prove it.
Here’s how. Our plan has been developed alongside a coalition of military members and veterans from across North Carolina.
Supporting Our Military Families
Our state’s duty starts with supporting the tens of thousands of active-duty military members who make North Carolina their home.
This also includes military spouses and children, who are serving in their own way right alongside our military members.
Our administration will push for two new common-sense programs that make their lives easier and attract military members to North Carolina.
We would be honored to help military members and their kids have the best opportunity in life given the sacrifices their families make as they move around the world.
1) Create a “Military Families Education Savings Account”
This program will allow children of servicemembers to have access to a quality education no matter what time of year they arrive on a base in our state.
Military families often get moved around at all different times of the year. They miss application deadlines and enrollment periods, and they find themselves forced to find new schools at inopportune times — through no fault of their own.
While they’re fighting for our country, we at home can help them out in this key area.
The Forest administration program will allow families to apply for up to $4,200 that they can use for educational expenses like tutoring to get their children up to speed, new supplies, or tuition at nonpublic schools in North Carolina.
We already have a similar program for disabled students in our state, so we know the model works. We can get this done for our families.
2) Eliminate N.C. income tax on military pay while stationed out of state
Under current law, military members pay North Carolina state taxes on income they earn while stationed around the country, no matter where they end up living.
Exempting our military members from this tax is an effective way to keep servicemembers calling North Carolina home.
Transitioning to Civilian Life
Service-members don’t always get a choice about where they’re stationed and where they serve. But when they leave the military, we would be honored if they would choose to make North Carolina their permanent home base.
Our plan calls for three ways to encourage that.
1) “Landing Zone” tax exemption
For veterans making their home in North Carolina, we will waive their first year of property taxes.
This benefit equals, on average, $1,200 or more. This will encourage new veterans to quickly put down roots in our state as our heroes are planning their next steps in life. We hope that demonstrates how committed we are to welcoming veterans to North Carolina.
2) Eliminate state income tax on veterans’ retirement benefits.
These folks have given enough, so this proposal only makes sense. Whenever we talk to veterans groups, this comes up as a high priority. Again, this is something other states do — and North Carolina should also.
3) Create three new Veterans Treatment Courts.
We can’t forget that some veterans have a rocky path transitioning to civilian life. It’s our responsibility to take care of the people who took care of us.
We will create three new Veterans Treatment Courts in Jacksonville, Raleigh, and Charlotte to work through cases and provide specific support to veterans.
This will expand access to these crucial and compassionate systems and get veterans the help they need.
We cannot allow complacency to get in the way of doing what’s right by our veterans.
Building Careers in North Carolina
In our state, we know that veterans are among our state’s top assets. The skills you learn in the military are vital in the workforce.
Our policy intends to help veterans and their families build careers here in North Carolina. We would be honored to play a small role in helping them succeed — while also harnessing all those skills to build our state’s future.
Many veterans in our state have already transitioned to successful careers in law enforcement. We want to make that path easier, particularly with our State Highway Patrol.
Troops2Troopers will put State Highway Patrol and other state law enforcement recruiters directly alongside military staff to work with outgoing service-members on a plan for their new career. We’ll pay for them to go through Basic Law Enforcement Training, and then recruits who complete training and pledge five years of service will receive a signing bonus of $10,000.
It’s a springboard for veterans to a rewarding career — and a great way to bring in the nation’s top talent to our state law enforcement agencies.
Our returning heroes are the ones doing the hard work. We’re just helping them find the right path.
As a state, we have not done enough to create pathways from military service to civilian careers. This is a good step to fix that.
2) Helping Heroes Bonus
On the other side of the equation, we can help private sector employers recruit and train veterans through apprenticeships in high-demand fields in North Carolina such as healthcare, information technology, logistics, and advanced manufacturing.
The Helping Heroes Bonus program will provide $2,500 to businesses who are hiring and training apprentices upon their exit from active military service.
Veterans learn new skills and build a career. Businesses get supremely talented workers. And our state is much better off.