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Wisconsin WWI Veterans Bonus Referendum, Question 1 (September 1919)
The Wisconsin WWI Veterans Bonus Referendum, also know as the Soldier Bonus Law was a Wisconsin referendum / legislatively-referred state statute on the September 2, 1919 ballot in Wisconsin, where it was approved.
This referendum sought the peoples approval to provide a bonus to veterans of World War I through a property and income tax increase.
Official results via: The Wisconsin Blue Book 1921
Text of measure
The language that appeared on the ballot:
Shall there be levied in the year 1919, a mill tax of not to exceed three mills on the dollar and an income tax sufficient to raise an aggregate sum of approximately fifteen million dollars to be paid by the state to Wisconsin soldiers, sailors, marines and nurses as stated in chapter 667 of the laws of 1919?
Blue book commentary
As written in the 1921 Wisconsin Blue Book:
"On September 2, 1919, the voters of the State of Wisconsin, by a vote of 165,762 for and 57,324 against accepted the amendment to Chapter 452 of the laws of 1919, which provided for the creation of the Service Recognition Board and the payment of what Is known as the Soldier Bonus Act, which provided for the raising of a sum sufficient to assure each soldier, sailor, marine, and nurse, including Red Cross nurses, who served in the armed forces of the United States during the war against German and Austria, and who at the time of his or her induction into the service was a resident of Wisconsin, a sum of not exceeding ten dollars for each month of service with a minimum of fifty dollars, as a token of appreciation of the character and spirit of their patriotic service, and to perpetuate such appreciation as a part of the history of Wisconsin, a tax of not exceeding three mills on each dollar of the assessed valuation in addition to the income surtax hereinafter mentioned is hereby levied and authorized to be included in the next tax levy; provided that in case any county shall elect by resolution of the county board of such county, adopted prior to the levy of such tax, to raise said amount by a bond issue authority is hereby conferred upon said county to issue such bonds and thereupon the proper authorities shall remit said levy in such county . If any person entitled to the benefits under this act be deceased before receiving such payment, then the payment accruing to said deceased shall be paid to the surviving widow, child or children, mother or dependent father, in the order herein stated, and in such case July 1, 1919, shall be deemed the date of termination of such service. The benefit of this net shall not accrue to any person for the time spent while taking training in any student army training camp, nor to any person who, although inducted into service, did civilian work at civilian pay."
Path to the ballot
- Legislative Submission: Ch.667 (1919)
- The Wisconsin Blue Book 1921
- Sample ballot and text of the Soldier Bonus Law in The Sheboygan Press, August 30, 1919
- "Advocates Referendum on Bonus Bill," The Milwaukee Journal, July 11, 1919