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Tax exemptions for veterans may be broadened

QUEENSBURY More veterans In Warren County will get property tax breaks in the future if municipal officials get their way. Monday, Warren County supervisors serving on the county Real Property Services Committee endorsed the concept of a new Cold War Veterans tax exemption. If their plans are enacted, veterans of U.S. military serving during time periods other than wartime would be eligible to apply for exemptions, joining those who served while a war was officially declared. Committee member John Haskell, Thurman supervisor, said he supported the new exemption, although he had not himself served in the military. I am aware how any exemption shifts the tax burden to others, but anyone who was willing to serve our country -- in combat or not deserves our appreciation and a break on their taxes. Warren County Real Property Services Director Michael Swan said this new exemption, recently drafted by the state, would be available as soon as 2010, if enacted by the full county Board of Supervisors. County Veterans Services Director William McGarr said about 7,200 veterans live in the county, and Swan estimated that about 5 percent would own their homes and be eligible for the new exemption. If all eligible applied for the Cold War tax beak, the county would lose an estimated $313,000. McGarr estimated that about 200 veterans would apply, with a $175,000 impact. Swan said 3,934 veterans in the county now get one of the several property tax breaks available to veterans, exempting 10 to 15 percent of the first $180,000 of the value of their primary residence from property taxes. Swan said he couldnt immediately calculate the total value of the taxes not collected because of the tax exemptions, but supervisors estimated it might be in a range of $2 million to $3.5 million.

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