Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Property tax exemption for American Legions and VFWs moves forward

At its afternoon meeting, the House Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee received a breakfast invitation Monday.

Richard Ward, the American Legion 5th District commander in Minnesota, invited members to Post 99 in south Minneapolis this Sunday from 8:30 a.m. until noon. There they will find high school football players bussing tables to earn money for their program, “salt-of-the-earth” family members of veterans volunteering their time, and food served in the basement of an old church.

“It may be the most definitive $10 pancake breakfast you’ll ever have,” he said.

Ward testified in support of HF4038, that was approved by the committee on a voice vote and referred to the House Taxes Committee.

Sponsored by Rep. Mark Wiens (R-Lake Elmo), the bill would exempt land owned by congressionally chartered veterans service organizations from property taxes beginning in assessment year 2024.

Wiens said the bill would not cost the state anything, but counties would have to absorb the lost revenue.

Ward said property tax expenses pose a major challenge to several American Legion posts around the state that are struggling to keep their doors open, including Post 99.

Despite having financial reserves in place, the pandemic delivered a major hit to the modest revenue it was able to generate and the post, celebrating its 90th anniversary, has a $13,000 property tax bill that threatens its existence.

“The resolution of the property tax issue is both urgent and important to veterans organizations across Minnesota,” Ward said. “There are more Post 99’s out there than you can imagine, and they are all under duress.”

The American Legion is the nation’s largest organization of wartime veterans, with posts around the country. It was founded by veterans and its primary objective is to help veterans after their discharge from active duty, along with their family members and the surrounding community.

Rep. Bjorn Olson (R-Fairmont) said the issue is important and asked Rep. Dave Lislegard (DFL-Aurora), who chairs the House Property Tax Division in addition to his service on the veterans committee, if he would be willing to hear the bill.

Lislegard said he would ask if his division can give the bill a hearing and said he is committed to helping on the issue. Later, as the meeting concluded, he encouraged veterans organizations to voice support for HF2000, which would legalize sports gambling.

He said that bill would provide $40 million in tax cuts and allow organizations such as VFWs and American Legion posts to spend more of their gambling revenue to do things like maintain their facilities.

He said some people are “very, very concerned” with shifting more property tax burden onto taxpayers as could happen under HF4038.

“I’m going to push for both,” Lislegard said. “But if I was a betting man, I would say that it is the sports betting bill that is your best chance to help your VFWs and American Legions.” 

Related Articles

Priority Dailies

Ways and Means Committee OKs proposed $512 million supplemental budget on party-line vote
(House Photography file photo) Meeting more needs or fiscal irresponsibility is one way to sum up the differences among the two parties on a supplemental spending package a year after a $72 billion state budg...
Minnesota’s projected budget surplus balloons to $3.7 billion, but fiscal pressure still looms
(House Photography file photo) Just as Minnesota has experienced a warmer winter than usual, so has the state’s budget outlook warmed over the past few months. On Thursday, Minnesota Management and Budget...

Minnesota House on Twitter