Tallahassee, FL - The Senate Community Affairs Committee today unanimously passed a bill which expands the availability of homestead property tax discounts for veterans disabled due to combat. Sponsored by Senator Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, Senate Joint Resolution 592 amends the State Constitution to extend homestead property tax discounts to veterans who were not Florida residents when they entered the military.
“This bill provides relief to our state’s aging combat-injured veterans,” said Bennett, who served four tours in Vietnam. “Our older veterans made great sacrifices for our country, although many did not live in the Sunshine State at the time they entered the military. As they age and struggle with service-related disabilities, this bill will help alleviate their financial challenges.”
In 2006, voters approved a discount on property taxes for veterans, 65 and older, with one or more combat-related disabilities and who entered service from the State of Florida. SJR 592 abolishes the pre-service residency requirement and allows totally or partially disabled veterans who were not Florida residents at the time of entering military service to qualify for the ad valorem tax discount on homestead property. The Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs estimates a maximum of approximately 74,000 veterans may qualify for the expanded tax discount.
“This bill is also expected to help stimulate Florida’s housing industry,” added Bennett. “Retired veterans frequently consider states which provide modest tax breaks for disabled veterans and their spouses.”
SJR 592’s next stops are the Budget and Rules Committees before heading for a vote on the Senate floor. A similar bill, House Joint Resolution 439, is sponsored by Representative Doug Holder, R-Sarasota. For more information, visit www.flsenate.gov.