Invoice would minimize taxes for veterans in Maine who’re 100% disabled

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Bill would cut taxes for veterans in Maine who are 100% disabled

Maine lawmakers are weighing a bill to eliminate vehicle excise taxes for veterans with service-related injuries who are rated 100% disabled by the federal Veterans Administration.

It’s an extra charge that some veterans find hard to pay, said MP Heidi Brooks, a four-year-old Lewiston Democrat, who proposed the change.

State Representative Heidi Brooks from Lewiston

State law already waives excise tax for veterans who are blind or who have lost the use of one or both legs.

The legislature’s tax committee, which heard statements about the measure this week, has taken no action on the bill. The tax implications are not yet known.

Patrick Eisenhart, a retired US Coast Guard commander who lives in Lewiston, told the panel the cost to taxpayers is “relatively low” and is likely to decline in the coming years as the number of veterans declines. Half of the state’s veterans are 65 or over, according to census reports.

Eisenhart said that of the nearly 110,000 veterans in Maine, less than 7% would be eligible for exemption.

Alvah Donnell, a Belgrade veteran with a 100% disability, said the majority of disabled veterans have “steady incomes and paying those taxes is a hardship.”

The Maine Municipal Association said cities and towns are reliant on excise taxes on homes and automobiles, so they are rejecting a proposal that undermines both sources of revenue.

The group did not comment on Brooks’ bill, however, and told committee members that if they want to pass the proposal, they should “implement the benefit in the form of a government-funded program that allows localities to reimburse for loss of income.”

Brooks said since many veterans need to travel for medical treatment, they need a vehicle.

“We know the shortage of motor vehicle transportation in Maine is difficult,” the legislature said. “We don’t have public transportation systems like larger communities in other states. Transportation to medical services, grocery stores, and many other resources is vital. “

“Our veterans have sacrificed for our safety and the freedoms that benefit us all,” Brooks said, and they could use the help the bill would offer.

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