Kentucky veterans hope bill could save service organizations

Updated: Jul. 9, 2018 at 7:21 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Some small groups that help veterans are struggling to survive, but a pre-filed bill in the Kentucky state legislature may give them the boost they need to keep the doors open.

While the next legislative session is nearly six months away, legislators can get bills in early to allow the public to have a conversation about them.

Representative DJ Johnson has drafted a bill to be introduced in 2019.

The act would allow veteran service organizations that are exempt from federal income taxes under 501(c)19 guidelines, to also be exempt from paying city or county property taxes, if the groups' charitable activities make up a majority of their overall activities. That would include groups like the American Legion and VFW.

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Veteran service leaders said the burden of property taxes is often too much for small posts, adding that around 30 American Legion posts across the state have recently shut down due to dwindling membership and financial reasons.

"It all multiplies," Ted Austin, a former American Legion state Commander, said. "Consequently, we've lost 30. There's several more that are close to the wire."

Austin said that surrounding states already have similar regulations in place. He's been working to promote this legislation for several years.

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