Governor Dan McKee, joined by Representative Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson and Senator James A. Seveney, today signed into law legislation which will extend property tax exemptions to veterans who served in uniform during the Cold War, between 1947 through 1991, even if they did not serve in a declared war or conflict.
The bill signing took place prior to a school-sponsored event commemorating Veterans Day at Holliman Elementary School in Warwick.
“Our veterans have served the nation with valor and dignity. We must always be sure to appreciate them and show them a debt of gratitude, because it is their heroism that keeps us free,” said Governor McKee. “That goes for all veterans. Our veterans who served in uniform during the Cold War were gallant in protecting our American ideals. They kept our nation safe, they were our nation’s backbone during a decades-long crisis.”
“The current definition of ‘veteran’ that we use has a disparate impact on peacetime veterans and especially female veterans,” said Rep. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick). “By changing the way the current law embraces combat in its definition, this bill will correct an injustice to many who served in peacetime and those women who were excluded from combat until policy was changed by the Secretary of Defense in 2013.”
“We owe veterans a debt that can never be repaid,” said Sen. Seveney (D-Dist. 11, Bristol, Portsmouth, Tiverton). “Anyone who joins the armed forces makes a commitment to their country that they back with their lives, regardless of where the flow of history may take them. To honor that commitment, it’s only proper that we extend this exemption to other veterans as well.”
State law gave property tax exemptions, which varied by municipality, to veterans going back to the Spanish-American War. The legislation defines the Cold War as a period of geopolitical tension that began following World War II and ended with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
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