The Senate Finance committee has scheduled a hearing next week on two bills that the Municipal League is supporting that would provide much needed relief to local governments and taxing jurisdictions from the costs associated with the current disabled veteran property tax exemption.
Senate Bills 783–784 (Sen Jon Bumstead – Newaygo) would change the nature of the current benefit for disabled veterans from being a local property tax exemption whose cost is borne by the local taxing jurisdictions, to a Homestead Property Tax Credit benefit equal to the value of the disabled veterans local property tax liability and paid by the state.
Following the passage of the current exemption at the end of 2013, the original cost estimate to local governments has ballooned from $9.4 million to over $50 million and growing every year. Confusion over administration and eligibility have lead to numerous attempts to change the current exemption and expand eligibility. The League and other local government groups have defended against these efforts and pushed for a change to the system that would see the state assume the cost for this benefit.
The bills being considered next week by the Senate Finance committee are the result of years of work and support from the sponsor and other legislators to create a new system that provides the same benefit to veterans that they currently enjoy, but without passing the cost on to local governments.
League members are asked to contact their State Senator and members of the Senate Finance committee and urge them to support this common-sense, bi-partisan reform proposal. You can also send them a letter in support using the League’s Action Center here.
Chris Hackbarth is the League’s director of state & federal affairs. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 and firstname.lastname@example.org.