HB 1829 – the veterans’ levy bill – is in danger of dying in Senate Ways and Means. County legislative authorities are required to collect a levy dedicated to a veterans’ assistance fund, which may be used for:
- veterans’ assistance programs for indigent veterans and families;
- burial or cremation of deceased indigent veterans or deceased family members of indigent veterans; and
- direct and indirect costs incurred in the administration of the fund.
As part of the county general levy, the levy is subject to both the $5.90 per $1,000 of actual value and constitutional 1 percent levy limit. The funds go towards things such as heat, rental assistance, and health care for veterans, but most counties do not take the max levy because of its impact on the general levy. The bill permits counties to continue collecting the veterans’ assistance levy as they do under current law, or they may collect the veterans’ assistance levy as a separate levy, outside of the county’s general levy rate. If collected as a separate levy, the levy is not subject to the $5.90 per $1,000 of actual value limitations but is still subject to the constitutional 1 percent levy limit.
By taking it out as a separate levy, veterans’ programs will no longer have to compete with public safety, public health, and other general fund purposes. Yet, many legislators are reluctant to pass the bill. Without more votes in Senate Ways & Means on Monday, March 2, the bill will die yet again. WSAC members need to contact their senators ASAP and encourage them to move this bill out of committee!