Michigan income tax refunds to help pay for WWII memorial

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation allowing Michigan residents to designate part of their state income tax refund to help finance a proposed World War II memorial in a Detroit suburb.

The Royal Oak memorial has been added to the list of organizations and efforts that residents can donate their income tax returns toward using check-off boxes, according to state Sen. Marty Knollenberg.

He told the Detroit Free Press that the proposed memorial will honor the 620,000 Michigan residents who served in the armed forces overseas and at home during World War II. The legislation creates a funding mechanism for the project, which will be built solely on donations, said Knollenberg, one of the bill’s sponsors.

“The voluntary donations do not impact the state budget, yet they can help the World War II Legacy Fund enable those who defended our freedom to receive an appropriate monument in their honor here in our community,” he said.

The World War II Legacy Memorial is proposed for Memorial Park in Royal Oak to serve as the state’s official tribute. The memorial plans include nine statues, an ice rink, an amphitheater and other interactive displays. It’ll also have a Wall of Stars representing the more than 15,000 Michigan lives lost.

Knollenberg said plans also call for pillars representing Michigan’s contributions to the war effort, a walkable and interactive map and commercial and government points of interest.

The Royal Oak City Commission approved the design plans about five years ago. Since then, the nonprofit Michigan WWII Legacy Memorial has been working to fundraise $3 million before breaking ground.

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