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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 8, 2014 09:49 AM
From: Senator Matt Smith
To: All Senate members
Subject: Disabled Veterans Real Estate Tax Exemption
In the near future, I plan to re-introduce SB 1145 of the 2013-2014 session. This legislation amends the Disabled Veterans Real Estate Tax Exemption law relating to calculation of income and the determination of “need”.

We often hear from our constituents about the increasing costs of property taxes and the financial pressure that they place on homeowners throughout the Commonwealth. That financial pressure is acutely felt by our disabled veterans who are unable to work as a result of their military service. Many of these disabled veterans live on fixed incomes that are being outpaced by the increases in their property tax bills.

My proposal would amend the law and add a definition of “income” that mirrors the definition in the Senior Citizen Property Tax and Rent Rebate Act. Under current regulations for the Disabled Veterans Real Estate Tax Exemption program, “income” is defined as all income, including 100% of social security income and railroad retirement benefits. SB 1145 would exempt 50% of social security income and railroad retirement benefits and be consistent with the Senior Citizens Property Tax and Rent Rebate Act. This change will potentially increase eligibility for the tax exemption among the disabled veteran population.

In addition, my bill will remove the language that creates a “rebuttable presumption” of need if the applicant makes less than $75,000 annually and provide that applicants with less than $75,000 in annual income shall be deemed to be in need and receive the exemption. The rebuttable presumption contained in current law will continue to apply to those making over $75,000 per year.

This legislation is aimed at providing property tax exemption to an expanded population of veterans who honorably served our Commonwealth and country and sustained significant and permanent disability as a result of their military service, and are suffering financial hardship. My sincere hope is that this expanded exemption eases the burden and allows more veterans and their families to remain in their homes.

Previous co-sponsors include Kitchen, Teplitz, Washington, Fontana, Ferlo, Blake, Yudichak, Stack, Rafferty, Schwank, Erickson, Brewster, Pileggi, Greenleaf, Hutchinson, Solobay, Hughes,
Costa, Mensch, White, Boscola, Kasunic and Browne.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation. If you have questions about this legislation please call my office at 717-787-5839.

Introduced as SB708