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Local veterans discuss importance of voting on referendums on the 2020 ballot

Virginia Referendums
Virginia Referendums(whsv)
Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 5:49 PM EDT
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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) — In addition to voting for candidates, Virginians have the opportunity to vote on two referendums by election day, including the motor vehicle property tax exemption for disabled veterans amendment.

“If we can do anything for the veterans, for their families, eliminating the taxes and that kind of thing, again will be a benefit,” Mac McCauley, former commander of VFW Post 2216, said.

Voters will choose whether to support an amendment to the Virginia Constitution that would allow disabled veterans to be exempt from paying state and local taxes on one of their vehicles.

“There’s so many benefits to not having to pay the property tax at least on one vehicle. Two would be great, but one, for now, is a start,” Scott Martin, VFW Post 2216 Commander said.

He noted that one of those benefits is being able to offset other expenses.

“A lot of people get upset that we even ask for something like that. They don’t understand that, you know, we’re struggling at home trying to make ends meet,” Martin said.

Disabled veterans in Virginia are currently eligible for a real property tax exemption on their homes after voters approved that amendment in 2010.

Martin, a recipient of that tax exemption, said that has been a big help.

“When I came home, I wasn’t able to go back to work, so any way we can save money to offset that loss of income is a great idea,” Martin said.

He explained that transition back to civilian life after deployment is tough, and many veterans do not like asking for help. That is why Martin said having resources and options available and accessible is a very important part of supporting our veterans.

“Spent years in the military being told to suck it up, don’t ask for help. For veterans to come home and have to ask for help is very tough, but don’t be afraid. Ask for help. It’s there,” Martin said.

Despite there being benefits available for veterans, Martin said it’s up to the individual to research or reach out to the VFW or other organizations to know what one may be eligible for.

“Seek out those benefits and use them. If you don’t use them, we’re going to lose them. So, come home and fight for your rights and get the benefits that you deserve,” Martin said.

While the VFW is a great resource for veterans, Post 2216 said the pandemic has caused them to lose money, and they’re struggling to stay open.

“If this post closes, the ability for a veteran to come in and say, look, I need help with my utility bills is gone. They don’t have that help,” Martin said.

On Oct. 31, VFW Post 2216 is hosting a charity motorcycle ride. Registration begins at 10 a.m. and the ride will begin at 11 a.m.

The money raised at this event will go toward operating costs at the VFW. There will be food, door prizes and a 50/50 raffle.

Copyright 2020 WHSV. All rights reserved.

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