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Bill Would Exempt Property Tax for Spouses of Service Members Killed



A bill before Washington lawmakers would create a permanent property tax exemption for spouses of first responders or military members killed in the line of duty.

The bill, SB 5049, received a hearing Wednesday in the Senate State Government Committee.

Republican Senator Steve O’Ban, who co-sponsored the bill, said he believed it was worth the estimated price tag of $15 million per year that would be passed along to other property owners.

“We as a community owe it to those families, even if we have to pay a fraction more in our property taxes to express that gratitude for the rest of their lives as they live with that loss,” he said.

O' Ban was questioned by Democratic Senator Dean Takko, who wondered about the benefit for spouses if they re-marry.

“A large residential exemption that goes on forever, you know, we’ll just assume it’s a widow, and she marries someone who’s financially viable or whatever you want to define it, and you know forever and ever their home is exempt,” he said.

O’ Ban responded by saying he would not be opposed to the bill being amended to put a cap on the benefit for any spouse of a fallen service member who re-marries.


Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.