OKLAHOMA – Governor Mary Fallin recently signed a bill into law that will exempt hundreds of injured vets from paying property taxes.
The initial return to American soil can be traumatic for those who have fought for our freedom.
On top of adjusting to life and physical injuries, thousands of disabled vets are battling a financial war.
“We have 22 veterans a day that commit suicide and, you know, a lot of it is income related or PTSD related” said Rep. Dustin Roberts.
Roberts hopes his bill will ease money woes.
Come November 1st, disabled vets who make $20,000 or less can qualify for homestead exemption.
Their disability will no longer count as a source of income.
Out of Oklahoma’s more than 84,000 disabled vets, nearly 2,900 are expected to benefit from the new law.
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma believes it will prevent veterans from becoming homeless.
“This is a big deal, because veteran and military hunger exists, and it’s kind of behind the scenes,” said Effie Craven, with the food bank. “We know that one in four Iraq and Afghanistan vets have reported being food insecure in the last year, and we feel that it’s unacceptable that anybody who served our country is hungry at home.”
It is an issue Roberts, who is also a veteran, wants to see resolved.
“Our veterans are our heroes, and we need to do everything possible,” Roberts said. “Theodore Roosevelt said that best. A man that’s willing to shed blood, you know, he needs a square deal given to him.”
When it comes to local property tax revenues, lawmakers said the maximum impact would be just over $291,000 a year.
That number is divided among all the counties in Oklahoma.