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Disabled Connecticut veterans to receive break on taxes

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(The Center Square) — Connecticut veterans with disabilities will get a break on their property and vehicle taxes under a bill signed by Gov. Ned Lamont.

The measure, which passed the Legislature with bipartisan support, covers veterans with a permanent and total disability rating resulting from their active-duty service. The exemption, expected to impact about 1,200 veterans in the state, will apply to the primary resident owned by an eligible disabled service member or, if they don’t own a home, to one motor vehicle owned by the service member.

“Our service members put their lives on the line to protect our nation, and this property tax exemption will provide some relief to those who have made sacrifices for our country,” Lamont, a Democrat, said in a statement. “Connecticut is the home of many veterans who have provided for our nation, and we want to ensure that they are properly cared for in their lives after leaving service.”

State Rep. Anthony Nolan, D-New London, called the legislation “one of the greatest bills” he’s ever voted for and said it “acknowledges and appreciates the sacrifices these veterans have made for their country.”

“It provides them with financial relief and support, recognizing their services and the challenges they may face due to their disabilities,” said Nolan, who co-chairs the Legislature’s Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs. “It also improves their quality of life by easing their financial burden and allowing them to focus on their health and well-being.”

State Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, an Army veteran and co-chair of the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee, said she has been working for years to get the disabled veterans exemption passed and praised Republicans for supporting it.

“These service members and their sacrifice for our country need to be remembered and honored, and eliminating their local property taxes is just one good way of doing that,” she said.

The property tax exemption, which goes into effect immediately, would be passed to the spouse or child living with the qualifying veteran at their primary residence if the veteran passes away.

Under the state’s current property tax exemptions, disabled veterans are eligible for a property tax exemption of up to $1,500 for those with up to 90 days of “wartime service.”

The changes were opposed by cities and towns, which argued that it would impose new unfunded mandates on cash-strapped local governments by increasing the property tax exemption of state-mandated exemptions, local option property tax exemptions, and fully exempt from the property tax property owned by 100% permanent and totally disabled veterans.

“Towns and cities remain almost exclusively reliant on the imposition of a regressive property tax system to fund all levels of local service and these proposals would further increase property tax rates that already subsidize the current mandated 99 property exemptions,” the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities said in recent testimony.

“Additional exemptions to the property tax further shift the burden of paying for local education and services to other taxpayers,” the group said.

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