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Rep. Al Juhnke, DFL-Willmar, concentrates on a question Wednesday as a House committee debates his proposal to give survivors of disabled veterans tax breaks. Tribune photo by Don Davis

Juhnke pushes for tax breaks for spouses of veterans who have suffered severe injuries

local Willmar,Minnesota 56201
West Central Tribune
Juhnke pushes for tax breaks for spouses of veterans who have suffered severe injuries
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

ST. PAUL -- Survivors of severely injured veterans could receive home property tax breaks under a bill Minnesota legislators are examining.

"Most of these are senior citizens," Rep. Al Juhnke, DFL-Willmar, said about those who would be eligible.

Juhnke's bill would allow spouses of severely injured veterans to continue to receive tax breaks after the veterans die. Current law eliminates the breaks within a year of death.

"It's a terrible time to be losing a property tax break a year after losing a disabled spouse," Juhnke said.

The survivor could keep the break until he or she remarries under the Juhnke bill. However, some lawmakers said they were concerned that could influence some people to live together, but not get married, so they can keep the tax break. Cass County Assessor Steve Kuha said the bill needs to be fixed so they know when a survivor remarries.

"We would not know when a spouse would remarry," he said.

Perhaps veterans' survivors should reapply each year, Kuha suggested.

"I'm not married to the remarry portion," Juhnke said.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.