Senator Moore helps get results for veterans and their
spouses with new benefit plan
Says bill also aids National Guard members fighting terrorism
August 23, 2006 - Massachusetts veterans and their families are now eligible for a variety of new forms of tax relief with the signing by Governor Romney of the “Representative Edward G. Connolly MERIT Plan.” The bill increases veteran’s property tax abatements, increases the property tax abatements for Gold Star spouses (spouses of veterans killed in action), increases the property tax abatement for disabled veterans, establishes a five year 100% property tax exemption for war widows and widowers, permits municipalities to suspend property tax payments for National Guard members and reservists on active duty, and extends sales and vehicle excise tax exemptions to disable veterans.
The new law was named in memory of Representative Connolly of Everett who was a champion of the rights of veterans throughout his public service as Everett Mayor and eight-term State Representative. The term MERIT stands for “Military Enhanced Relief Individual Tax” plan. It is based on a combination of some 14 Senate bills and 26 House bills as well as several amendments offered during the bills legislative history.
Nearly two years ago, Senator Richard T. Moore (D-Uxbridge) was joined by his former House colleagues Reps. Edward G. Connolly (D-Everett) and John Binienda (D-Worcester) in filing legislation to improve the property tax exemptions available to the surviving spouses of Massachusetts veterans. The bill that they filed in December 2004 was Senate Bill 1997. Connolly, because of his long-time respect for Senator Moore as a staunch supporter of veterans causes, joined in co-sponsoring the bill. Rep. Binienda, who chairs the House Revenue Committee, one of the Committees that had jurisdiction, along with the Veterans and Federal Affairs Committee, for such legislation was also quick to join as a co-sponsor.
“I’m especially proud to have played a part, along with so many other legislators, to update the amounts of tax exemptions and abatements for our deserving veterans, disabled veterans, and their loved ones. Of equal importance to me is that this new law is such a fitting memorial to my good friend, the late Ed Connolly, who worked so hard to help veterans, and who organized the Legislature’s Veterans Caucus several years ago,” Senator Moore explained. “No legislator has worked harder to help Massachusetts veterans than Ed Connolly, and he deserves the lion’s share of credit as a co-sponsor of my bill and of several others bills that were used as a basis for this new law.
“The bill that I filed with Ed Connolly, John Binienda, Senator Brian Joyce and other legislators was specifically aimed at increasing the amount of property tax abatement for surviving spouses of veterans and for the surviving spouses of National Guard members who may have died as a result of injuries or complications for acts of terrorism following September 11, 2001,” Senator Moore stated. “It’s especially fitting that it is now law prior to the fifth anniversary of that tragic terrorist attack,” he added.
Senator Moore said that he was grateful to the Revenue Committee, under the leadership of Sen. Cynthia Creem (D-Newton) and Rep. Binienda, and the Veterans and Federal Affairs Committee chaired by Sen. Stephen Brewer (D-Barre) and Rep. Anthony Verga (D- ) as well as to the Senate and House leadership for expediting passage of the bill.
Veterans and family members are encouraged to check Senator Moore’s web site,
He has also sent copies of the information to veteran’s agents in the towns in his senatorial district.