This week, legislation I sponsored along with Lou Terhar of Cincinnati, becomes effective on September 11th.  It is a measure that honors Ohio’s heroes, our veterans, by allowing for an easier transition back into civilian life.

House Bill 85 increases the amount of the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $50,000 for those veterans who are permanently and totally disabled with a 100 percent disability from the VA. After months of discussion, and working with interested parties, we reached a bill that we all agreed upon and one that allows us to be competitive with other states. The bill was signed by Governor Kasich in June.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 47 other states provide some property tax relief for veterans who are completely and permanently disabled. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that there are approximately 8,000 permanently disabled veterans in Ohio who meet the service-related disability requirement for tax exemption under the bill.

In addition, the legislation exempts a disabled veteran from the means testing that was implemented in the State Budget. Most of these veterans are unable to work and their benefits can exceed the $30,000 income limit in some circumstances.

I thought it was imperative to pass this legislation because making the transition back into a “normal” civilian life for veterans is difficult enough as it is. Imagine what this transition looks like for those veterans who are suffering from a serious and permanent injury. Having the ability to stay in their home makes a meaningful difference for these individuals, and if as a state, we can encourage this kind of common sense and bipartisan initiative to be enacted, then we should.

The Ohio House has made veterans a priority from the beginning of this General Assembly. We’ve passed bills that have worked to help veterans in their job search and with their educational goals. House Bill 85 continues our commitment to Ohio’s brave, strong and selfless servicemen and women—the ones who have sacrificed so much for their country in every way. The least we can do is make it possible for them to have some sort of relief from taxes so that the option of staying in their home is a reality.



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