State Rep. Bill Ogg has been trying for seven years to get financial aid to state military personnel who served in the Persian Gulf War in 1991.
Ohio House Bill 49, which Ogg helped draft, would give a $300 bonus to those who served in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The total cost to the state would be $3 million. However, the bill has failed to get past the finance committee three times previously.
“It has hit opposition every time because of the $3 million cost,” Ogg said. “But we waste more money than that.” Section 1 of HB 49 explains who is eligible for the bonus should it eventually be passed: “Any person who, as a member of the armed forces of the United States, served, on or after Aug. 2, 1990, in the area designated as a combat zone...any person who, as a member of the Ohio National Guard or the reserve components of any of the armed forces of the United States, served on active duty in support of Operation Desert Shield or Operation Desert Storm...”
All service personnel must have been an Ohio resident for one year prior to deployment. Also, anyone who received a bonus from another state is ineligible for the Ohio bonus. Ogg said Ohio is one of the few states in the country not to give such a payment to Desert Storm veterans.
The next step for the bill will be testimony in front of finance committee chairman John Carey, R-Wellston. Speaking on behalf of the bill will be various veterans groups. Carey will then decide whether HB 49 will move to the floor of the House for voting.
The House plans to adjourn July 1 for the summer, so it will be a while before the bill could be passed. “A bill like mine won’t receive any notice until we get back,” Ogg said.
Ogg is passionate about HB 49, if it is passed or not. “The $300 is not much,” he said. “It’s just a token of appreciation for those who served. Three-hundred dollars today is not like $300 was after World War II.” If the bill doesn’t pass in the fall, look for a fifth attempt from Ogg. “I’m just going to keep pushing it,” he said. “I don’t give up easy.”
Story created Wednesday, June 20, 2001.