Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tax Relief for Tornado Victims, Military Widows and Energy Efficient Homes

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 9, 2009) – Legislation to expand tax incentives for building energy efficient homes and give tax relief to the victims of the Feb. 10 tornado and spouses of fallen servicemen has been passed out of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee.

Senate Bill 481, by state Sen. Todd Lamb and state Rep. Jason Nelson, would expand the existing credit for construction of energy efficient residential property, so that the credit can be used on the construction of property of any size beginning Jan. 1, 2010. Currently, the eligible residential properties are limited to 2,000 square feet.

The bill would also give tornado victims an income tax credit for tax years after Dec. 31, 2009 and a credit for registration fees and the excise tax for any vehicle purchased to replace a vehicle destroyed by the Feb. 10 tornado.

Larger residential properties stand to gain the most from energy efficiency, Nelson said.

“Large buildings consume the most energy and therefore it is common sense to include them as eligible for this tax incentive,” Nelson said. “My legislation would save builders a total of $2.4 million, allowing them to focus on lowering the energy costs for Oklahomans who purchase their homes.”

Nelson said tornado victims were in need of tax relief and that he was glad they would be supported by his measure also.

“The February 10 tornado was devastating to some Oklahoma families and individuals and I am proud to include tax relief for them in my bill,” Nelson said.

An amendment to the bill also added an income tax exemption for the spouses of fallen servicemen and women.

“These brave men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country,” Nelson said. “Their spouses, who have suffered a great loss, deserve our consideration. My hope is that the legislation will help honor their memories.”

Senate Bill 481 now proceeds to the full House for debate and a vote.
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