Re: “Cities sign off on love for the military” (TNT, 2-17).
There is another military-related presence in the state that is often overlooked that has a huge positive effect on the state’s economic well-being: the military retiree family (the retirees, their dependents and widows).
Funds entering the state from the federal government in 2009 to pay the federal benefits earned by these retiree families were more than $3.6 billion.
These funds – consisting of retirement pay, disability pay, military health care payments, Medicare payments, Social Security benefits and survivors benefits – are a huge plus, particularly when considering that these families place little or no drain on the state’s welfare, Medicaid and unemployment programs while contributing to state taxation that funds these programs.
Money spent by these families creates more jobs, expands and/or creates new businesses, further adding to the economic well-being of the state.
With 70,717 military retirees in the state, Washington is ranked seventh in the nation in military retiree population primarily because of the state’s military bases, income tax policy and available jobs.
Perhaps the state Legislature should follow the lead of the state’s congressional members who encourage more military presence in the state by providing enticements to encourage more military retiree families to make Washington their home.