The full Senate has given unanimous approval in the Senate for legislation exempting the American Legion from state sales taxes on goods and services. House Bill 1003, by Senate Appropriations Chair Roger Thompson and House Majority Leader Mike Sanders, was approved by the full Senate on Wednesday.
“Twice this session, members of the Legislature, Governor Stitt and Lt. Governor Pinnell have gathered to honor Oklahoma’s veterans. With the passage of this bill, we follow our words with actions, supporting the American Legion which provides so much support to our veterans every day of the year,” said Thompson, R-Okemah.
Thompson noted that for years, Blue Star Mothers and Veterans of Foreign Wars have had this benefit. Thompson said this legislation corrects that oversight. He said extending the sales tax exemption to the American Legion would only have a fiscal impact of $287,000.
The measure also was approved on a unanimous vote by the House last month.
"The American Legion has been in Oklahoma for 100 years serving our state veterans and their families as well as our youth through a variety of patriotic education programs and outreach ministries,” said Sanders, R-Kingfisher. "The Legion also promotes a mission of strong national security. I’m glad to finally give them the same tax-exempt status that other organizations with similar missions already have."
There are 180 American Legion posts throughout Oklahoma and an auxiliary with 143 units. American Legion services include benefits assistance, career fairs and workshops, guidance on education, health care, and personal finance and plays an active role in communities across the state.
“This bill now goes to Governor Stitt for his signature, and we hope he will stand with us in supporting our veterans,” Thompson said.