My first speech as State Senator addressed the reality of Veteran homelessness in Massachusetts. While the Commonwealth ranks high in Veterans services, there are still around 1200 retired soldiers in the Commonwealth with no place to call a home. To confront this unacceptable statistic, I sponsored an FY17 budget amendment creating a Commission to determine how Massachusetts can reach a zero-count of homeless Veterans.
In the past I have also filed for several tax breaks geared toward relieving Veterans from costs and expenses they shouldn’t have to worry about. Our office filed for tax credits for disabled veterans, Gold Star families, and homeless Veteran housing.
The legislature recently passed the BRAVE Act into law, which included my amended language to lift the cap on the community service property abatement program. This program allows Veterans, or their surrogate, to perform community service in exchange for a reduction of their property taxes. My amendment increased the maximum abatement by an additional $500 a year.
The Municipal Modernization Bill included my amendment enabling incapacitated Veterans to keep their real estate tax abatements if they choose to transfer their property into a trust for their families. This will expand on existing benefits and allow Veterans to have greater flexibility in handling their real estate affairs without losing what they are entitled to.