Full homestead exemption for disabled veterans, spouses advanced
Senators advanced a bill from general file March 13 that would extend a homestead exemption to disabled veterans.
LB1087, introduced by Omaha Sen. Pete Pirsch, would provide a 100 percent property tax exemption for a veteran with an honorable or general discharge who is drawing compensation for a 100 percent disability, but not eligible for the existing total homestead exemption.
Pirsch said the proposal is a small step in recognizing veterans.
“We need to look at the individuals whose lives have been affected, whose service needs to be recognized,” he said.
The bill also would provide a 100 percent exemption to the single widow or widower of any honorably or generally discharged veteran who died because of a service-related disability. The single widow or widower of a veteran killed while on active duty also would be eligible for the exemption.
The exemption would take effect Jan. 1, 2015. The bill would decrease General Fund revenue by an estimated $406,000 in fiscal year 2015-16 and $416,000 in FY2016-17.
Bancroft Sen. Lydia Brasch supported the bill, saying that a favorable tax climate would encourage veterans to settle in the state.
“These are men and women that have taken extreme risks with their lives,” she said. “This is an attempt to help make those individuals stay in Nebraska.”
Columbus Sen. Paul Schumacher said he supported the bill, but cautioned other senators that exemptions like the one proposed in LB1087 could lead to a slippery slope.
“This is an absolute exemption, without regard to combat duty or how the injury occurred,” he said. “Are we also going to do this for police officers? Firefighters? Teachers?”
Senators advanced the bill on a 28-0 vote.