The California State Senate today approved Senate Bill 1458 by Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) that would expand eligibility for the state’s property tax exemption to military veterans who previously did not qualify. The bill now goes to the State Assembly for its consideration.
“The Senate today recognized the need to protect all veterans with a 100 percent service-connected disability from the threat of losing their homes,” said Bates. “My bill is about fairness for veterans, and I am hopeful the State Assembly will agree and send the bill to Governor Brown’s desk later this year.”
Senate Bill 1458 is sponsored by Board of Equalization Member George Runner and is the only Senate Republican “Make California Affordable” bill to make it out of the Senate so far.
The bill makes California law consistent with federal law so that any veteran receiving service-connected disability benefits at 100 percent will be eligible to receive the state's disabled veterans' property tax exemption on their home. While some veterans have received a 100 percent disability rating from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, they are unable to qualify for California’s disabled veterans’ property tax exemption because they did not receive an Honorable Discharge, which California law requires.
Bates and numerous veterans groups believe a 100 percent disabled veteran should qualify for the state property tax exemption as long as they did not receive a dishonorable or bad conduct discharge, and if they qualify for existing federal disability compensation benefits.
California’s Board of Equalization has said that SB 1458 would result in an annual property tax revenue loss of $127,000 for every 100 newly-qualified disabled veterans. While the number of people who could benefit from the bill is unknown, Bates believes that any minor revenue loss to the state is significantly outweighed by the sacrifices made by veterans with 100 percent disabilities.
SB 1458 is supported by veterans’ organizations including: the American G. I. Forum of California; AMVETS-Department of California; American Legion-Department of California; California Association of County Veteran Service Officers; VFW-Department of California; and Vietnam Veterans of America, California State Council.