from the office

of 

Sen. Alan Olsen

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mar. 2, 2017

Jonathan Lockwood
 Communications Director
971-645-2140
Jonathan.Lockwood@OregonLegislature.gov

 
Olsen: Veterans need modernized property tax exemption

SALEM, Ore.-Canby Republican state Sen. Alan Olsen is leading an effort to help disabled veterans. The measure, Senate Bill 694, modernizes existing property tax exemptions to better deliver on Oregon's promise to disabled veterans.

"We owe our honorable veterans more and the government should be keeping its promises to those who have sacrificed for all of us," said Olsen. "Helping veterans stay in their homes is a small price to pay for what we owe our veterans." 
 
When real estate values escalated over time, the disabled veterans property tax exemption started to decrease. The exemption amounts stayed the same, while the value of homes grew. The actual effective outcome was not as meaningful as it once was. 

"Disabled veterans find themselves in a struggle that is at times cyclical," said Clackamas County Commissioner Ken Humberston, who testified in committee. "We appreciate that this bill is prescriptive in how to implement exemptions. We think this tiered approach is an equitable approach to address needs."

The bill would increase the upper limit of two existing property tax exemptions for disabled veterans and their unremarried surviving spouses from $15,000 to $60,000 and from $18,000 to $65,000 based on disability status. It creates a third exemption of up to $150,000 of the assessed value of a homestead or personal property for 100 percent disabled at a county's discretion. 

"We believe that SB 694 helps Oregon to do what we can to lessen the financial strain of these veterans that have given so much for our state and for our country," said Wayne Harvey, chairman of United Veterans' Groups of Oregon

Steven Bates, chair of the Committee on Memorials and Remembrance, testified in support of the bill and explained the current exemption rates were the result of old laws. 

"The original Oregon State Statute that authorizes this property tax exemption references Civil War disabled veterans and their surviving spouses," said Bates. "This law been modified only a few times since 1953."

Bates added:

"Let Oregon once again stand for our wounded warriors. Let us increase the disabled veteran property tax exemption this year."

"Clackamas County is proud to serve its returning veterans and also support family members who have lost loved ones to military conflict," said Chris Lyons, Clackamas County government affairs manager in submitted testimony. "Returning from conflict should not be burdensome to those who volunteered to serve in the military, and while many resources exist to support returning vets and stabilization into civilian life, more can always be done to protect and support those who fight for our freedom."


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For media requests please contact Communications Director Jonathan Lockwood at 971-645-2140, or Jonathan.Lockwood@OregonLegislature.gov.


Oregon Senate Republicans, PO Box 2168, Salem, OR 97308
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