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Property tax bills would bring relief to communities with disabled vets

Texas state Sen. Pete Flores

State Sen. Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton) recently welcomed Burnet County Republican Women's club members Mary Jane Avery (left), Joy Evans, Kara Chasteen, Becky Freitas, and Gail Teagarden to his Capitol office. They presented him with a Texas flag quilt made by Wanda Chandler and her 95-year-old mother, Gloria Pollard, both of Marble Falls. The presentation is a tradition with newly elected legislators for Burnet County. Courtesy photo

State Sen. Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton) filed a bill on Tuesday, Feb. 7, that would offer property tax relief to communities that are home to disabled veterans. 

Senate Bill 748 is the first bill Flores has filed during the current 88th Texas legislative session, which ends May 29. It is a companion to House Bill 1613, filed by state Rep. Hugh Shine (R-Temple).

“This legislation will make state funds available to local governments to support the cities and counties that aren’t home to or near a military installation and put more money back into the pockets of taxpayers,” Flores said in a media release.

The disabled veteran exemption in Texas provides sliding-scale property relief for disabled veterans wherever they live. Those determined to be 100 percent disabled receive 100 percent relief from property taxes. Veterans deemed to be 70-100 percent disabled receive a $12,000 property tax exemption and those 50-69 percent disabled get a $10,000 exemption.

In Texas, veterans tend to live farther from military installations, but only counties that partially or wholly contain a military installation and cities adjacent to installations receive state reimbursement funds to offset the cost of lost revenue from the disabled veteran property tax exemption. 

Local taxpayers are then required to make up the difference in revenue with increased taxes, Shine said.

“My office assembled a policy team a year ago to study this issue and develop a policy initiative that would completely reimagine the State of Texas’ response to the disproportionately impacted communities that the 100 percent disabled veteran exemption has created,” he said. “It is an honor to represent communities that are home to so many service men and women. HB 1613 will ensure that these disproportionately impacted communities can provide the quality of life that our veterans deserve.”

Flores represents Senate District 24, which includes Fort Hood in Killeen and Burnet and Llano counties.