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Governor Signs Property Tax Exemption, Motorcycle Safety Legislation


May 1, 2010, Anchorage, Alaska - Governor Sean Parnell today signed legislation that would allow municipalities the option of providing limited property tax exemptions for law enforcement officers to live in areas of high crime and for spouses of disabled veterans.

HB 10, sponsored by Representative Max Gruenberg, gives municipalities a tool to encourage law enforcement officers to live in high-crime neighborhoods. The bill allows local governments to exempt from property taxes the first $150,000 in value of a police officer's home in an area where the statistical crime rate is higher than for the municipality as a whole.

The bill also allows widows and widowers of disabled veterans to retain their municipal property-tax exemption. These widows and widowers had been ineligible for the tax exemption until age 60.

"These are steps in the right direction: to spare some homeowners from the effects of high property values, and to attract peace officers to our most troubled neighborhoods," Governor Parnell said.

The legislation also seeks to increase parity between Alaska Pacific University and the University of Alaska, and it provides an important extension needed for economic development in Northwest Alaska.

The governor also signed House Bill 262, sponsored by Representative Wes Keller, establishing May, in statute, as Motorcycle and Motor Scooter Awareness Month. Motorcycle accidents and fatalities are on the rise statewide.

"I encourage Alaskans to drive safely, which means maintaining an awareness of everyone who shares the roadways, including motorcyclists," Governor Parnell said. "Safe, courteous driving is a quality-of-life issue. Indeed, it can be a life-or-death issue."

Governor Parnell signed the bill at the annual Bike Blessing in Anchorage.

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