(KCPW News) The Utah Senate approved a bill this morning to exempt military personnel from paying state property taxes. Senate Bill 116, sponsored by Democratic Senator Luz Robles, would apply to a service member who has been called to active duty. Robles said men and women serving probably weren’t expecting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to go on so long, and they’re suffering.
“There’s more suicide for men and women in our military services than they’ve ever seen before.” Robles says. “There’s more issues related to the economy and them trying to get back to our communities. And truly this is just a small way of saying thank you as a state.”
But Senate Majority Leader Scott Jenkins noted there is no longer a military draft, so those who serve are in the line of duty voluntarily and they understand the responsibility of that service.
“And I understand what they do and I understand that if you get called up, you get called up.” He says. “I had that same responsibility. The reason this bothers me is because I feel like we’re carving out an exemption here, and we are so full of exemptions. I’m just sick and tired of it. And this is one more and it’s a big one.”
SB 116 is a companion bill to Representative Stephen Sandstrom’s House Joint Resolution 12, which would require a constitutional amendment that would be placed on the ballot for voters to decide. If passed, it would mean a tax shift of less than $2 a year for the average homeowner.