General Assembly approves bill extending property tax exemption to veterans who served during the Cold War


STATE HOUSE — The General Assembly today passed legislation introduced by Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick) and Sen. James A. Seveney (D-Dist. 11, Bristol, Portsmouth, Tiverton) that would extend property tax exemptions to veterans who served during the Cold War.

State law gives a property tax exemption, which varies by municipality, to veterans going back to the Spanish-American War. The bill (2021-H 5785, 2021-S 0982) would extend the exemption to any member who served in uniform during the Cold War between 1947 through 1991, even if they did not serve in a declared war or conflict.

“The current definition of ‘veteran’ that we use has a disparate impact on peacetime veterans and especially female veterans,” said Representative Vella-Wilkinson. “By changing the way the current law embraces combat in its definition, this bill will correct an injustice to many who served in peacetime and those women who were excluded from combat until policy was changed by the Secretary of Defense in 2013.”

The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies that began following the Second World War. It ended with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

“We owe veterans a debt that can never be repaid,” said Senator Seveney. “Anyone who joins the armed forces makes a commitment to their country that they back with their lives, regardless of where the flow of history may take them. To honor that commitment, it’s only proper that we extend this exemption to other veterans as well.”

The measure now moves to the governor’s office.



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