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

Vet spouses tax breaks suggested

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

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"Most of these are senior citizens," Rep. Al Juhnke, DFL-Willmar, said about people 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.

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