To the editor:
There was a recent article in the paper titled, "Mayor downplays all Veterans Tax Credit". I would like to respond but let me take a little time to provide our citizens with some background.
Under current law, RSA 72:28, a tax credit is awarded to honorably discharged veterans who served a minimum of 90 days and served during certain conflict dates. It doesn't matter if they served in combat or not. The state has enacted a new version of the law, RSA 72:28b, that is exactly the same except there are no time periods. All veterans would be eligible for the credit under the new law. The problem is, this would require our council to accept this or for it to be put on a ballot and voted on in a town meeting. (according to the newspaper article)
I served during the dates in question and was honorably discharged so I am eligible for the tax credit. Why should I get the credit and my fellow veterans who served honorably but not at the right time, not receive the credit? This is ludicrous and the state realized that and updated the flawed law. Veterans who were in the military had no say as to weather or not there would be a conflict while they served. All veterans should be recognized for their service.
I submitted a petition signed by 32 citizens in order to get the city managers to review this situation. I presented this information to the council on Jan 23. The council generally seemed supportive of the change but our mayor downplayed the notion of adopting the law according to the newspaper article. This is just one more indication that our leaders don't seem to represent the interests of our citizens. They eliminated the visiting nurses that so many Berlin residents loved and now they are not willing to treat our veterans fairly. State representative John Martin of Bow said, "this is a matter of treating all those who served in the military on a fair and equal basis", and I couldn't agree more. Serving during peacetime is still serving and all veterans were prepared to fight when called upon to do so.
Here in Berlin, eligible veterans receive up to $125.00 tax credit. The minimum allowed is $50.00 and that is what Berlin awarded until recently when it was increased to $125.00. The maximum allowed would be $500.00 and up to 60 percent of communities provide the maximum amount to vets. I asked the council to consider increasing the amount to the maximum. We here in Berlin pay one of the highest property tax rates in New Hampshire. Where does it all go? Not to our streets, winter or summer. Not to our Nurses. Not to our veterans.
I urge the residents of Berlin to contact their councillors and the mayor to let them know that we honor all our veterans around here, regardless of what the dates were when they served.