by Gus Blackwell
Last week I had the distinct honor and pleasure to attend two ceremonies that honored veterans in this area and their service to our country. One was at the Goodwell High School auditorium and the other was at the Yarborough school system. Both were excellent and paid tribute to those men and woman who have so valiantly served our country, both in times of peace and of war. I know that school systems throughout this district had similar celebrations for these courageous patriots.
The men and women honored for their service to our country ranged from those in their twenties to those in their eighties. Some had served in WWII, while others had seen duty in the Korean conflict and the Vietnam War. A few saw action in the current Iraq War, while others faithfully served while our nation was at peace.
It is well worth noting that the reason that our nation sees times of peace is because of men and women who are willing to sacrifice their lives for the safety of those not in the military. One only needs to look at the turmoil and destruction that is occurring in France to understand this maxim.
It is because of this sacrifice and commitment that several bills were passed this year to help veterans in particular. The sacrifices that they make are myriad and it is only just and fitting that they receive back a small token of appreciation from a grateful state.
Some of the bills that were passed by the Legislature provided tax breaks to veterans classified as 100% disabled. Approximately 5,500 of the state's 360,000 veterans are 100% disabled. These people gave all that they had except their life and it is only right to help them substantially after their great sacrifice.
House Bill 1547 exempts a 100% disabled veteran from paying sales tax on all purchases of “tangible personal property or services” not exceeding $25,000 per year. Officials believe this tax break will save Oklahoma 's disable veterans a combined $1.5 million a year.
House Bill 1476 allows military retirees to exempt either $10,000 or one-half of all military pensions, whichever is greater, from the state income tax. Prior to this bill, the law capped the exemption at $7,500.
State question 715 which was approved overwhelmingly by voters in the 2004 General Election exempts 100% disabled veterans and their spouses from property taxes. The exemption would be for the full fair cash value of the homestead. To qualify for the exemption, the veteran would have to have been honorably discharged from their respective military branch and be a state resident.
Don't let Veterans Day be an isolated time to thank veterans for what they have done. All that we have and enjoy as Americans was bought by the blood, sweat, and tears of these true patriots. It is fitting that our schools continue to remember and honor veterans and teach our children to do the same.
Boise City News