BURNET — In the face of concerns about tax contributions, a veterans advocate has defended two proposed state constitutional amendments aimed at providing tax breaks for veterans, fallen emergency workers, and their spouses.
Of the seven propositions on the ballot Nov. 7, two of them address property tax relief provisions for those who have “sacrificed for others.”
Prop 1 reads: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the Legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of part of the market value of the residence homestead of a partially disabled veteran or the surviving spouse of a partially disabled veteran if the residence homestead was donated to the disabled veteran by a charitable organization for less than the market value of the residence homestead and harmonizing certain related provisions of the Texas Constitution.”
“If a charitable organization like a VFW, a military Order of the Purple Heart, or any of those foundations, if they gift a property like that to a veteran then it becomes exempt from property taxes,” Burnet County Veterans Service Officer Bill Worley said.
State law already provides for tax exemptions for veterans with disabilities and their spouses.
For example, those deemed 70-90 percent disabled would receive a tax discount on the first $12,000 of the appraised value of a home.
Taxes on a $100,000 home would be figured on $88,000.
If Proposition 1 passes, the law would extend 100 percent exemption to a donated dwelling and extend the option to a surviving spouse.
“It’s a small token of the community’s appreciation of their efforts … especially for a survivor,” Worley said. “There are so many veterans’ widows living on $800 or $900 a month.”
Prop 6 reads: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the Legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a first responder who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty.”
“Anytime a person sacrifices themselves to try to aid others, there’s not enough we can do for them,” Worley said.
Worley said he understand detractors may express concerns about the shift in tax burden.
“I can understand their arguments. Property tax is how so many things are funded,” he said. “The small amount of someone like that having an exemption, if that has to raise my taxes a dollar or two, I’m okay with that.”