Maine’s Legislature needs to make a statement in 2014. That statement should say that any veteran who receives a campaign medal in any armed conflict should be entitled to the same benefits – one of them being a $6,000 property tax exemption and a $50,000 property tax exemption for specially adapted housing units of veterans of a federally recognized war period.

You may be surprised to learn that veterans of post-9/11 conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are not given the opportunity to access this property tax benefit. An estimated 2.4 million veterans fought for our freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet they do not qualify for the same property tax benefit as a veteran of World War II, Korea, Vietnam or any other armed conflict.

L.D. 1696, “An Act to Extend the Veterans Property Tax Exemption to Veterans Who Served in Iraq or Afghanistan,” has been presented by Rep. Lori Fowle, D-Vassalboro. This bill aims to reward all veterans who defend America with equal opportunities and benefits.

The people of Maine are responsible for ensuring this bill is passed into law. Our veterans have fought the war on terror for more than 10 years. Our veterans have sacrificed everything in order to defend America. Let’s reward them by ensuring equal benefits and recognition.

If you have not seen it yet, I advise you to look for video of President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union speech. Look for the part dedicated to Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg.

I would dare to hear anyone tell me why Sgt. 1st Class Remsburg and other post-9/11 veterans should not qualify for this tax benefit after witnessing the sacrifice this man and many others have made for Maine and the United States of America.

Please contact your legislator to vote for this bill and fight for veterans rights!

Todd Diadone

Portland