Quinn signs Illinois military support expansion plan

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SPRINGFIELD, IL (AP) – Gov. Pat Quinn has approved an expansion of a program that assists military families in Illinois during conflicts or wars.

The Chicago Democrat on Thursday signed the measure to include future military conflicts _ not just those arising from the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The 2003 program was designed because military families were taking a salary cut after National Guard members and reservists were deployed. It provides funds to pay for groceries, rent or utility bills. It has doled out about $15.4 million to support almost 29,000 families. An income tax check-off allows residents to donate to the fund.

Quinn says Illinois’ military members shouldn’t have to worry their families are struggling financially back home during service.