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New Bill Extends Benefits For Spouses Of Military Members Killed In Action

Flickr user TN Drum Guy

State Senator Leticia Van de Putte has introduced a bill to extend homeowner tax exemptions to spouses of military members killed in action.

If it is approved and becomes a law, it would be considered a constitutional amendment for voters to decide.

In 2009, legislation was passed allowing veterans who are fully disabled to get a property tax exemption. In 2011, legislation was passed allowing that exemption to be passed on to surviving spouses if that veteran passed away.

However, the exemption applied to only wounded veterans, not service members killed in combat. The new legislation will allow those benefits to be passed on to the surviving spouse.

The surviving spouse is eligible to receive the tax exemption on the residence homestead of the service member when he or she died, provided the spouse has not remarried. If the spouse later moves to a different homestead, the exemption would apply to the new house in the dollar amount equal to that of the exemption allowed on the former house.

If the bill is approved by the legislature and the amendment approved by voters, the exemptions would go into effect January 1, 2014.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.