Help military families on tax returns

Friday, March 10, 2006

For most of us who have not yet filed our income taxes, we know the April 15 deadline is rapidly approaching. As you fill out your forms, keep in mind how you can help your neighbors who are away from home fighting for our freedoms and their families. By completing a check-off donation on your state income tax return, you can conveniently contribute to the Missouri Military Family Relief Fund.

The Missouri Military Family Relief Fund is a state-administered fund that assists families of Missouri Resident Guard and Reservists who have been deployed for the global war on terrorism. When these citizen soldiers are called to active duty, many times their families are left to pay bills on a smaller paycheck. A mortgage payment or utility bill should not go unpaid because the breadwinner's regular salary has taken a leave of absence. The Missouri Military Family Relief Fund aids these Missouri National Guard and Reserve families in the event of such a financial crisis.

The easiest way for Missourians to contribute is by completing a checkoff donation on their state income tax forms. Just enter Code 11 in one of the blank boxes for trust fund donations and fill in the desired amount you want to give.

I was honored to sign House Bill 437 into law last year, creating this fund. This year, we hope to include some money from general revenue in the state budget to prime the pump for the MMFRF, but most of the funding for this program will come through private donations from individuals and corporations.

Many school systems participated in "The Power of 11 Cents" program this past Veterans Day. On the 11th day of the 11th month, many school children contributed 11 cents to the Missouri Military Family Relief Fund. The inspiration behind "The Power of 11 Cents" came from a 3-year-old boy who attended an event with his mother, an Army reservist who had just returned from Iraq. He carried 11 cents in his hand. When his grandmother told him to put it away, he replied, "No, give it to the injured soldiers."

If a 3-year-old can see the tremendous impact of this program, certainly we adults can use the Missouri Military Family Relief Fund to say thank you to our citizen soldiers. Please consider making a donation with your income taxes this year.

For more information, visit my Web site at www.ltgov.mo.gov.

Peter Kinder of Cape Girardeau is the lieutenant governor of Missouri.