Vets could get car tax relief

Published 9:49 pm Thursday, May 16, 2013

Disabled veterans could be in line to get a discount on their personal property taxes after a unanimous vote by the City Council on Wednesday to explore the issue.

Suffolk and Portsmouth currently are the only two Hampton Roads localities that do not offer a reduced rate for disabled veterans. Other localities offer discounts that range from 30.72 percent of the general rate to effectively 100 percent.

The discussion was spurred by a couple of disabled veterans who spoke at the May 1 City Council meeting to ask for consideration.

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“I think it’s a good idea,” William Goodman Sr., a member of the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 5, said Thursday. He was not one of those who spoke at the prior meeting.

“I think that anything that the city or the state or the country can provide for veterans is good.”

Vice Mayor Charles Brown made the motion Wednesday for city staff to look into it and bring a report in June.

“I think there’s a desire that we certainly want to see this happen,” Mayor Linda T. Johnson said.

Suffolk and Hampton are tied for the third-lowest general tax rate for personal property at $4.25 per $100 of assessed value.

But for veterans with a permanent and total disability that is service-connected, Hampton is the best deal in the region. State code does not allow for a total exemption for disabled veterans, so Hampton sets its disabled veteran rate at one penny per $1 million of assessed value, effectively giving its disabled veteran residents no car tax bill.

Other discounted rates in the region vary from nine cents to $3 per $100 of assessed value.

City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn said Wednesday the June report would include a number of factors, including any proposed discount, a timeline for implementation, a recommended application process and the impact on the budget.

“We know how important every dollar is for our taxpayers,” she said.