COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado voters will decide whether or not to extend the homestead exemption to gold star spouses.
A ‘yes’ vote on Amendment E would make gold star spouses eligible for the homestead exemption.
Chris Kinnard is a gold star spouse who was involved in getting the amendment on the ballot, and she knows a lot of people who would benefit from it.
She showed photos of her late husband, Jim. He was drafted into the army and went to Vietnam. In 1969, he died of an injury while serving at the young age of 20 years old.
“He was a surfer boy. He loved the outdoors. He loved life, and he loved to make people laugh. So that's kind of how our family likes to remember him,” said Kinnard.
Kinnard said during an emergency, property taxes are not at the forefront of many couples’ minds.
“You're not thinking about property taxes, your thoughts are just thinking about taking care of your spouse and doing the best that you can for them,” said Kinnard.
Currently, the homestead exemption provides financial relief to qualified seniors and veterans with a service connected disability. It exempts 50% of the first $200,000 of their home's value from taxation. A ‘yes’ vote would extend that to gold star spouses.
“It would be helpful because when you're raising children 24/7, you don't have the relief, as you do with a two-person family,” said Kinnard.
Gold star spouses are the surviving spouses of a U.S. armed forces member who has died in the line of duty, or whose death resulted from service-related injury or illness. Kinnard said it’s a community no one wants to be a part of.
“Another lady I know is raising six children by herself. So any kind of financial help with relief would be helpful,” said Kinnard.
Advocates for the amendment say this would impact about 490 gold star spouses in the state who would otherwise not qualify, and it would save them about $630 dollars a year. For Kinnard, it also means helping many other spouses who share a similar experience.
“They're raising children and they're part of Colorado, so to acknowledge their sacrifice and give them a little bit of a relief is a great, greatly appreciated effort,” said Kinnard.
There is no formal opposition against this amendment according to the Colorado Secretary of State’s website. In fact, all law makers voted to put it on the ballot. A ‘no’ vote means gold star spouses would not receive this financial help.
There is no loss in funds to individual counties because any uncollected revenue resulting from the homestead exemption is reimbursed by the state. The estimated cost to the state is $288,000 for the budget year from 2023 to 2024.
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