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Begich Offers Economic Relief for Alaska Military Families


Introduces legislation to help with moving, shipping costs

Responding to requests from Alaska military families seeking fairness as they face steep moving costs for permanent assignments in Alaska, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today introduced the “Service Members Permanent Change of Station Relief Act.” The bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), increases the gas mileage reimbursement rate paid to families given a permanent change in station in Alaska, Hawaii and Guam and also provides reimbursement for military families in those areas to ship a second car during their move

“This bill will provide our service members and their families much needed financial relief during these hard economic times,” Begich said during a speech on the Senate floor. “Like most families, our service members are pinching their pennies, too. Unfortunately, they often incur many unnecessary financial burdens related to their service and sacrifice.”

Begich pointed out those service members who get directed to move to a military base in Alaska from the Lower 48 are currently only reimbursed for shipping one vehicle. Additionally, the gas mileage reimbursement rate for service members on a permanent change of station is currently just 16 cents per mile; nowhere near the true costs and the costs paid to those on temporary duty assignments. Begich’s bill ups that reimbursement rate for those with a permanent change of station to 50 cents per mile.

“It doesn’t make any sense that gas mileage reimbursement rates are different amounts for permanent change in station and temporary duty assignments. Our service members get official orders to move, it’s not optional,” Begich added.

Begich said military families assigned to Alaska should not be put in the position of having to choose between meeting the daily needs of their families or pay more than $1,500 to ship a second car.

“They move at the military service’s direction – relocating themselves and their families to new military base every few years. It is unfair we are asking them to pay out-of-pocket on these government directed moves or experience unwarranted and pointless hardships due to financial constraints,” Begich said. “In these tough economic times, it is more important than ever that we show our support for our service members and their families.”

The Service Members Permanent Change of Station Relief Act is supported by the Military Officers Association of America.

You can see Sen. Begich’s speech at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1vM4-0bQYU
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