UPDATE: Nixon signs veterans legislation

Thursday, July 2, 2009 | 5:22 p.m. CDT; updated 10:57 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 2, 2009

CAPE GIRARDEAU — Gov. Jay Nixon signed several veterans-related bills Thursday that include a tax break on state income taxes.

Nixon, a Democrat, held a signing ceremony for the bills at the state veterans home in Cape Girardeau. He said he was proud to sign legislation designed to help military veterans.

The measures also set up memorial highways to honor service members killed in combat; allow those who earn military medals to park for free in cities that agree to participate; and permit veterans' service organizations to bury unclaimed, cremated remains of veterans.

Another measure establishes May 1 as "Silver Star Families of America Day" to recognize wounded and ill military members and an organization that helps them.

"While we cannot thank our veterans enough for their selflessness, for their service or for their sacrifice, we can at very least honor them with a special recognition, specific benefits and by ensuring that their remains are laid to rest properly," Nixon said in a written statement.

The tax break would allow people to claim a deduction of military pensions from state income taxes. Those collecting military retirement benefits could deduct 15 percent of the pension starting in 2010. The deduction would reach 100 percent in 2016.

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