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Mayor downplays All Veterans Tax Credit

February 15, 2017
BERLIN New legislature signed by the Governor last month enacted provisions made to the Standard Veterans Tax Credit that enables towns and cities to decide to adopt the new law that gives tax exemptions to all veterans. The City Council had a brief discussion about the legislature late last month and Mayor Paul Grenier apparently downplayed the notion of adopting the law.

At a Jan. 23 City Council work session, Councilor Michael Rozek moved to place the veteran's exemption proposal to the top of the agenda, and it was seconded.

Navy Veteran Robert "Bob" Pelletier stood in representing Berlin veterans and addressed the council. Pelletier advocated that the council adopt the new law that would give all veterans tax credits "no matter what their service." He stated that RSA 72:28 restricts tax exemptions to specific "qualifying veterans who have served in certain conflicts." He also asked the council to raise the tax credit to the maximum of $500. Eligible veterans currently receive up to $125. He added that 60 percent of communities grant the maximum award of $500.

While Grenier stated that "The City wants to honor the service of veterans," he said that the money for exemptions would "be borne by every other taxpayer in the community." He said that the council "has to consider the impact to everyone else and the need to do what is fair for everyone."

"If it was not for veterans, we would not be able to pledge allegiance to the flag," said Councilor Rozek.

Pelletier thanked the council and left the meeting.

RSA 72:28, the current law, every municipality in the state awards tax exemptions to veterans who served a minimum of 90 days on active duty and served in specific time periods of war and were honorably discharged. The mandatory minimum award is $50 and the maximum is $500. Sources state that 20 percent of municipalities award the $50 minimum, especially towns in the North Country. Sixty percent award the $500. According to Pelletier, Berlin awards up to $125. All eligible veterans receive the same amount in each city or town. Tax credits are deducted each year from qualifying veterans' residential property tax. Spouses of deceased veterans can also become eligible for the tax credits.

The new law, RSA 72:28b, is the same law except that it eliminates the stipulation that only awards veterans who served during specific wartime periods. This makes all veterans eligible in towns and cities that adopt the law and All Veterans Tax Credit would replace the current standard law in those towns and cities.

Government data shows that merely 10 percent of men and woman who serve face any combat.

If the City wanted to formally adopt the All Veterans Tax Credit, it would have to be put on the ballot and a town meeting vote or equivalent would need to occur.

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