Lawmaker Proposes Property Tax Break for Disabled Connecticut Veterans

State Rep. Anthony Nolan, D-New London (CT Examiner).


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HARTFORD — A state lawmaker is looking to waive all property taxes for fully disabled veterans in Connecticut.

State Rep. Anthony Nolan, D-New London, who served in the Navy in the 1990s, told CT Examiner this week that he’s optimistic the bill will pass this legislative session with bipartisan support. The potential law would apply to about 1,250 Connecticut veterans who are classified as permanently and totally disabled by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and cost approximately $5 million per year, according to Nolan.

Nolan, co-chair of the Veterans’ and Military Affairs Committee since 2022, said the bill is currently being crafted and will eventually require approval by the 52-member Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee. He said it remains to be decided whether the lost revenue would be covered by the state, local municipalities or a combination of the two. 

“It’s so important to help these people not only because I am a vet, even though I will not be reaping the benefits of it,” Nolan said. “There are some things we should be offering our veterans who are 100 percent disabled that we do not do. Some came back without limbs and some can’t work themselves because of what they did for us during wars. Some are unable to go and get their own groceries, and some need help eating and walking.”

Under federal law, conditions that qualify for full disability include the permanent loss of the use of both hands or both feet, losing sight in both eyes, or becoming permanently helpless or bedridden.

Prior to Nolan’s involvement in pushing for property tax cuts for disabled veterans, State Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, was at the forefront of the issue. Osten, who has sought similar cuts for disabled veterans for the last four years, said this year is different because more data is available.

“A lot of people [lawmakers] didn’t have the data we now have on this issue,” Osten told CT Examiner on Wednesday. “A lot of people thought it [cost] would be exponentially expensive.”

Though Nolan estimated the costs of waiving property taxes could be upwards of $5 million, Osten believes it will be less than $1 million, as not all disabled veterans own homes..

“We won’t break the bank,” she said.

In cases where disabled veterans reside in apartments, assisted living or VA hospitals, Osten said those individuals would have their vehicle taxes waived instead. 

Osten, who served in the U.S. Army in the 1970s, said living with the horrors of war doesn’t end when veterans return home.

“Their battles don’t end when they get home,” she said. “This [proposed bill] is our way of saying we appreciate what you have done for your country.”

According to SmartAsset, a New York City-based financial technology company, Connecticut has an average effective property tax rate of 1.96 percent, the third highest in the nation.

Home values and property taxes also vary depending on the county. Windham County has the lowest median home value of the state’s eight counties at $210,300, and a median annual property tax of $4,409, according to SmartAsset. Meanwhile, Fairfield County residents have the highest median home value at $433,000 and pay an average of $7,928 in property taxes.

State Rep. Devin Carney, R-Old Saybrook, a Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee member, said Nolan’s proposal is “something I could support,” adding that the funding should come from the state. 

“I think it’s important that we recognize those folks [veterans] and do whatever we can to make their lives as easy as possible,” he said.

New London resident and Army veteran Ken McKenna, who was exposed to Agent Orange while serving in the Vietnam War, has been classified by the Department of Veterans Affairs as 100 percent disabled. McKenna also said he has a weak heart, weak lungs and is living with lung and prostate cancer. His wife, Carol, is his caregiver as Ken is undergoing palliative care.

“My health is going downhill,” Ken told CT Examiner on Wednesday. “That money [saved from waiving property taxes] will help with the upkeep of my house. We have a home to run here.”

The McKennas have lived in their home since 1978 and currently pay about $3,800 annually in property taxes, according to Carol.

“There are many vets who are homeless,” she said. “We need to do what we can to give our  vets more rights.”

Robert Storace

Robert Storace is a veteran reporter with stints at New Britain Herald, the New Haven Register, the Connecticut Post, Hartford Business Journal and the Connecticut Law Tribune. Storace covers the State Capitol for CT Examiner. T: 203 437 5950