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Tax exemptions proper thanks for troops

March 27, 2003

Staff editorial

Troops fighting for America abroad have enough to worry about without added stress over the upcoming tax season. Daily, these soldiers sacrifice personal lives for conflicts around the world, and as a signal that America appreciates and understands these sacrifices, the House of Representatives unanimously passed special tax exemptions for U.S. military personnel.

Included in the bill was a tax exemption for the $6,000 burial benefit the military pays to the families of soldiers who die in combat. Furthermore, child care benefits and housing assistance for servicemen and women also are receiving tax exemptions. Reservists who are called up also are receiving exemptions -- up to $1,500 can be recouped if they have to make overnight stays while more than 100 miles from their homes.

The military already helps pay for burial costs in part, as well as monthly compensation, six months of free housing or help with housing costs, health care coverage, part of the serviceman's retirement pay and education funds to the spouse and children of any soldier who dies in combat. Other benefits will include capital gains tax breaks for when personnel must sell their homes to relocate.

Monthly wages for military personnel already is perilously low, so these tax breaks and exemptions are more than justified to reward our troops, if not to help motivate them as a fighting force.

'This legislation recognizes and provides relief for some of the hardships endured by members of our armed forces during their service to protect our freedoms,' Rep. Philip M. Crane, R. -Ill., said.

With approval last month by the Senate Finance Committee, the Lariat hopes that this bill will receive loud support and rapid passage through the entire Senate. In times of crisis, it is the least America can do to honor our fighting forces.