Today the Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee approved a constitutional amendment that would expand property tax relief for Pennsylvania’s disabled veterans, according to Committee Chairman Senator Randy Vulakovich.
Senate Bill 239, legislation introduced by Senator Vulakovich and Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46) which would expand the Property Tax Exemption Program for Disabled Veterans, was amongst three measures the Committee considered.
Currently, an honorably discharged disabled veteran must be 100-percent disabled and have a financial need in order to receive a 100-percent exemption from property taxes. The proposed constitutional amendment would allow veterans determined to be at least 50-percent disabled to receive the tax exemption based on the extent of their disability. Under that proposal, a 100-percent disabled veteran would continue to be completely exempt from paying property taxes. However, those considered to be 75-percent disabled would then be eligible for a 75-percent exemption and a 50-percent disabled veteran could receive a 50-percent exemption. All veterans – regardless of their disability level – would still have to qualify based on their financial need.
“As our men and women continue to put their lives on the line for our freedom, this measure is another way in which we can say thank you for their sacrifice,” said Senator Vulakovich.
The Committee also reported Senate Bill 1021, a measure introduced by Senators John Yudichak (D-14) that would provide a limited-time opportunity for certain amputee or paralyzed veterans to apply for the state’s Amputee and Paralyzed Veterans’ Pension, which provides a benefit of $150 per month to eligible veterans. Act 180 of 2014 increased this program’s eligibility requirements in order to reduce program costs. However, the Act did not allow sufficient time to ensure that all veterans were able to complete their applications before the changes became effective. Senate Bill 1021 would provide a 90-day period for eligible veterans to submit an application to the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
The Committee will also reported Senate Bill 1041, a measure introduced by Senator Bartolotta that directs the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to create logos to be used to promote veteran-owned and disabled veteran-owned businesses. This proposal mirrors a successful program currently being utilized in the state of Wisconsin.
“Last session, we passed legislation exempting veterans-owned business from start-up fees,” said Sen. Vulakovich. “This bill builds on those efforts to assist veterans in getting set up in the marketplace.”
Finally, the Committee approved Senate Resolution 260, a measure introduced by Senator Vulakovich to extend the term of the Senate Resolution 6 Commission from June 30 to November 30, 2018. The Commission, made up of legislators, first responders and representatives from municipalities, is studying issues affecting first responders. The Commission is charged with providing its findings and recommendations to the Chairmen of the Senate and House Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committees.
“The Commission has only been able to meet on a couple of occasions so far and in order for it to fully do its job, it will need additional time to deliberate and make its recommendations,” Senator Vulakovich said.
Each of these measures now go before the full Senate for its consideration.
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