California lawmakers seek to expand property tax exemptions for disabled veterans | California

(The Center Square) — California lawmakers on Thursday passed two separate measures proposing extensions to tax exemptions for disabled veterans.

Senate Bill 1073, authored by Sen. Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, would provide partial property tax exemptions for a primary residence owned by a partially disabled veteran. The bill would set the amount of the partial exemption as the percentage equivalent to the disabled veteran’s disability percentage issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or the military service from which the veteran was discharged.

Under the California Constitution, the legislature may partially or fully exempt the value of a disabled veteran’s principal residence from property tax “if the veteran has lost two or more limbs, is totally blind, or is totally disabled as a result of a service-related injury,” according to an analysis of the bill. A veteran deemed partially disabled — even with a 50% disability rating — is not eligible for a tax reduction. property based solely on his disability rating, Grove told lawmakers Thursday.

Grove estimated Thursday that more than 376,000 veterans living in California have less than 100% disability, meaning they are currently not eligible for the state property tax exemption. She added that California accounts for 31% of the nation’s homeless veteran population and has the highest number of homeless veterans at nearly 11,500 people, according to a 2020 report. report of the Senate Housing Committee.

“SB 1073 could be that saving grace for this veteran by helping him keep his home and get through the hardships until he can get back on his feet,” Grove told lawmakers.

The Equalization Board estimates that SB 1073 would save veteran taxpayers $194 million a year, according to an analysis of the bill. Grove’s bill passed the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance in a 5-0 vote on Thursday and met with no opposition.

The committee also voted to advance Senate Bill 1357 by Sen. Bob Archuleta, D-Pico Rivera, Thursday. If passed, it will increase property tax exemptions for disabled veterans.

Under SB 1357, a veteran with a 100% disability rating and their spouse would qualify for a full property tax exemption. The bill also provides a partial exemption for a veteran who is blind in both eyes, who has lost two or more limbs due to service, and whose disability rating is less than 100%. In these cases, the taxpayer could claim a partial exemption equal to $700,000 multiplied by the veteran’s disability rating.

For example, a taxpayer with a 70% disability rating would qualify for an exemption of $490,000.

Under current law, disabled veterans who receive property tax exemptions due to a 100% disability rating receive exemptions income based. Depending on income level, 100% disabled veterans are eligible for a reduction of $100,000 or $150,000. Archuleta’s bill would allow such people to claim a full exemption.

“Senate Bill 1357 is about making California more affordable and livable for the men and women who have served our great nation and sacrificed so much,” Archuleta told lawmakers. “California needs to do more to ensure our veterans can afford to live in our great state while working to end the veteran homelessness we see everywhere we go.”

Speaking in support of the bill, Michael Barret, a retired Navy veteran and 100% disabled who suffered multiple injuries after a 2004 IED attack, told lawmakers Thursday that he and many other veterans living in California were considering moving to other states that already waive property tax for veterans. Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Virginia, and Hawaii are among the states that allow full property tax exemptions for 100% disabled veterans.

“I really hate that my family and I are faced with a decision like this. We love California, we want to live in California, we want to remain positive and productive citizens and work very hard here in California,” Barret told lawmakers. “Passing Senate Bill 1357 is a sign of hope, a sign that veterans and families can afford to buy homes, thrive in our community post-military service, and grow as families. in the wonderful state of California.”

The bill passed Thursday with a 5-0 vote. The Grove and Archuleta measures were referred to the Veterans Affairs Committee.

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