Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

For Immediate Release: March 2, 2011

Sen. Don Barrington
Sen. Don Barrington

Finance Committee unanimously approves sales tax exemption for disabled veterans’ widows

A measure to extend a portion of the sales tax exemption allowed for 100% disabled veterans to their widows unanimously passed the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday. Sen. Don Barrington, R-Lawton, says the measure would provide some financial help to the surviving spouses of Oklahoma’s heroes.

“Providing the sales tax exemption to disabled veterans is our state’s way of honoring and recognizing their tremendous sacrifice to our country. When these veterans die, it can put a financial burden on their spouses,” said Barrington. “Although they never fought in a war, these spouses made their own personal sacrifices during their loved ones’ years of service, and I think they have earned and deserve this small financial consideration.”

Senate Bill 46 would exempt the surviving spouses of qualified veterans who have not remarried from sales tax on up to $6,000 in sales per year. To be qualified as fully disabled, a veteran must be unable to sustain employment because of his or her disability.

Barrington noted that Veterans organizations from around the state, including the Oklahoma Veterans Council and the MidAmerican Chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America, have been requesting the legislation for years.
Pete Peterson, Chairman of the Oklahoma Veterans Council noted that military benefits to widows are much lower than normal retirement benefits provided to veterans.

“We’ve been pushing for this legislation for years. When veterans die, their widows are basically left in the cold financially because benefits are cut in half,” said Peterson. “This exemption, while it won’t come near to making up the difference in lost benefits, will provide some financial relief and allow these individuals to be better able to continue providing for themselves and their families.”

Those veterans who are 100 percent disabled receive $2,500 a month in benefits. Upon their death, however, those benefits fall to $1,100 a month.

Scott Ellis, Government Relations Director for the MidAmerican Chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America thanked Barrington for his dedication to help veterans and their families.

“We are extremely thankful to Senator Barrington for his commitment to the surviving spouses of these veterans,” said Ellis. “We hope the Senate and House give this issue the attention it deserves. It’s important that these widows be given this relief so they can be able to afford groceries and other necessities. They deserve that much.”

According to the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs, there are approximately 2,533 surviving spouses who would qualify for the proposed exemption. The fiscal impact of SB 46 to the state through decreased sales tax collections is estimated to be just over $405,000 for FY ’12 and nearly $706,000 for FY ’13.

Though passed unanimously by the committee, title was struck. SB 46 will next be heard by the full Senate.

For more information contact:
Sen. Barrington: (405) 521-5563

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

March Press Releases | Press Releases