A bill heard in the House of Representatives in May would have given veterans a break on their property taxes. It would have provided much-needed relief to veterans that have served our country and too often, struggle financially when they come home. Unfortunately, lawmakers voted it down and so, if veterans get any break on their taxes at all, they will have to wait.
Representative Elmer Floyd of Fayetteville sponsored the bill. It would have changed the current law that allows veterans that are 100 percent disabled an exemption on the first $45,000 of the value of their home. Floyd wanted to increase that to the first $55,000 of the value of their home. Under the proposed legislation, 21,000 veterans in North Carolina would have qualified.
The majority of lawmakers though, voted that this tax break would cost the state too much. Annually, it would cost the state approximately $1.9 million. That money, argued critics of the bill, is currently going to schools, law enforcement, fire protection, and other services.
“The fact that we are putting costs above the well-being of those that have fought for our country is incomprehensible,” says Brendan Garcia of Vet Law. “This is particularly true due to the fact that legislators have stated they will reconsider the law again next year. Why wait when we can provide veterans with the help they need now?”
That is true. One opponent of the new law, Republican Representative John Szoka of Cumberland County, said that the law has a better chance of passing if it is reintroduced next year. Floyd has stated that he will propose the bill again, and that he will not stop until it is passed.
However, he may not have to wait that long. The property tax break for veterans is included in the annual budget, which is now with the state Senate. While reviewing the budget, the Senate could decide to expand the property tax break, giving veterans the assistance they need even sooner. If that happens, North Carolina would become the veteran-friendly state he one day hopes it is.