LANSING, Mich., May 23, 2018 — Sens. Steve Bieda (D–Warren) and Marty Knollenberg (R–Troy) are one step closer to securing funds for Michigan’s first World War II Legacy Memorial after the House Committee on Tax Policy today approved the bills.

Senate Bills 816 and 817 would create a funding mechanism for The Michigan World War II Legacy Memorial in Royal Oak and allow the state to accept memorial contributions from taxpayers. The memorial will honor the 620,000 Michigan residents who served in the armed forces overseas and at home during World War II, and provide a lasting tribute to the 15,458 service members who lost their lives.

“Michigan’s role in the ‘Arsenal of Democracy’ should never be forgotten,” Sen. Bieda said. “This memorial will not only honor the brave soldiers who risked their lives, but also those non-combat patriots in our state who mined iron ore in Ironwood to build tanks and airplanes, or who produced K-rations for soldiers at the Kellogg’s facility in Battle Creek, among many other dedicated people.”

Senate Bill 817 sponsored by Sen. Bieda, would establish the Michigan World War II Legacy Memorial Fund in the Department of Treasury to collect and distribute the donated funds. Senate Bill 816, sponsored by Sen. Knollenberg, would amend the Income Tax Act to allow an individual to make a voluntary contribution on Form 4642 when they file their state tax returns.

“This project is an extension of the Honor Flights, which began in 2007 to connect over 1,400 veterans with their respective memorials in Washington, D.C.,” WWII Legacy Memorial President Debi Hollis said. “The WWII Legacy Memorial is a way to cement the work we did during Honor Flights for future generations to experience the sacrifices of their ancestors.”

Proposed plans for the $3 million memorial include statues to honor soldiers; pillars to represent Michigan’s contributions to the war effort; a walkable and interactive map with military, commercial and government points of interest; and an amphitheater. So far, organizers for the WWII Legacy Memorial have raised more than $530,000 toward the completion of the project.

“First, we brought Michigan to the memorial through Honor Flights, and now we’re bringing the memorial to Michigan,” WWII Legacy Memorial Vice President Russell Levine said. “The timing of this bill is incredibly important to meet our goal of honoring the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII by unveiling the memorial in 2020.”

Taxpayers wishing to contribute to the WWII Legacy Memorial must check a box indicating the dollar amount they would like to contribute on Form 4642 when they file their taxes. Donors can also purchase engraved bricks lining the walkway around the memorial for veterans or organizations.

###

Pictured from L-R are Russell Levine, Vice President of The Michigan WWII Legacy Memorial, Sen. Steve Bieda (D-Warren), Sen. Marty Knollenberg (R-Troy), and Debi Hollis, President of The Michigan WWII Legacy Memorial.