Governor signs property tax exemptions for Gold Star Spouses and certain disabled veterans
(Austin) — On Monday, Governor Perry signed two bills that honor the heroism of Texas' military heroes and their families, one authored by Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio, District 26) and the other sponsored by her.
Senate Bill 163, authored by Van de Putte and identical to a bill by House sponsor Rep. Chris Turner, D-Arlington, awards a 100% property tax exemption to spouses of active duty service members who were killed in action. The dollar amount of the exemption is based on and locked at the amount of the first home where the exemption is claimed and the claiming spouse cannot be remarried. The exemptions may be claimed beginning in the 2014 tax year.
House Bill 97, authored by Rep. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock and sponsored by Van de Putte, creates a property tax exemption for disabled veterans who reside in a home that was donated by a 501(c)(3) organization. Veterans who receive such homes sometimes have those homes foreclosed upon due to inability to pay property taxes, thus negating the social good such donations seek to accomplish. The rate of exemption would be based on disability rating (i.e., a 70% disability is qualification for a 70% exemption). The exemption would be passed to the surviving spouse after the veteran's death.
Final implementation of the exemptions is dependent on voter approval of two Constitutional amendments by Texas voters in November: House Joint Resolution 62 and House Joint Resolution 24, respectively, call for these elections.
"Families who have lost a service member and veterans who have suffered a disability have given enough to our nation," said Senator Van de Putte. "They should not be further burdened by property taxes on their homes. I'm proud to have worked with Representatives Turner and Perry on these two pieces of legislation. We can never fully repay these families for what they have given to our nation, but hopefully these tax exemptions will make their lives easier. I thank Governor Perry for signing these bills, and I encourage all Texas voters to join me in supporting these families by voting for these exemptions on November 5."