Voters to decide if disabled veterans receive lower property taxes
In a letter sent to area newspapers, Parish President V.J. St. Pierre said he will not take advantage of a measure that would allow disabled veterans to double their homestead exemptions if the move is approved by parish voters.
St. Pierre is eligible for the exemption because he lost a leg and finger while serving with the Marines in Vietnam. However, he was upset that anyone would believe he would propose the measure to give himself a tax break.
“I have no intention of taking advantage of the measure if it is approved,” he wrote. “I consider myself extremely lucky. Through gracious assistance and my own determination, I was able to live a normal life after being shot 11 times, spending almost a month in a coma, and losing a leg and finger in battle.
“And I continue to relish the opportunity to be able to give back to my community through public service.”
On Nov. 2 of last year, the state passed a constitutional amendment that allows local governments to hold an election to consider increasing homestead exemptions for veterans that have a 100 percent service-related disability. St. Pierre proposed a measure that would allow the 66 parish veterans that meet the criteria to double those exemptions to $150,000.
The Parish Council agreed and voters will decide on the matter on April 30.
Parish officials are unclear how much money the parish would lose out on in tax revenue if the measure is passed by voters. St. Pierre said that they don’t know the names of the 66 veterans who would meet the criteria and don’t know the price of their homes.
“I continue to personally believe this measure is a positive one that will help disabled veterans in their continuing struggle, with a minimal impact on parish operating budgets,” St. Pierre wrote. “I would hold that belief whether I qualified for the exemption or not.”