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Property tax break expanded for Warren County seniors

Dave Wick, new Executive Director of the Lake George Park Commission, thanks Warren County supervisors at their April 20 board meeting for their support and cooperation during the last 19 years as his role as the director of the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District. The board meeting drew a fair crowd, including people who offered opinions on expanding the county property tax exemption for the aged.

Dave Wick, new Executive Director of the Lake George Park Commission, thanks Warren County supervisors at their April 20 board meeting for their support and cooperation during the last 19 years as his role as the director of the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District. The board meeting drew a fair crowd, including people who offered opinions on expanding the county property tax exemption for the aged. Photo by Thom Randall.

— But in computing income for the exemption, state law mandates that all Social Security payments, investment income and dividends, earnings from rentals or businesses, income from trusts, estates, annuities, and pension plans be counted. The law also dictates that income from Workers’ Compensation, disability income is counted, as are IRA earnings and contributions, and a spouse’s earnings. Assets that produce no current income, however, are not factored in.

Queensbury resident Sean Garvey suggested that instead of liberalizing exemptions for a few, county supervisors ought to concentrate on curbing tax increases.

“It’s time to stop increasing taxes, stop all new capital spending, and reduce the size of government,” he said.

Stec observed, however, that the estimated $40,000 tax shift at the $24,000 threshold would likely mean the average homeowner would have to pay merely $2 or so more annually to help out those with meager income.

Stec also said that if the increased exemption kept just a few people in their homes rather than moving into Countryside Adult Home — or keep them from enrolling in a welfare program, the change would far more than pay for itself.

“We’ll be able to find $40,000 in the budget to help low-income seniors,” he said. “This is not only the right thing to do, but it has relatively small impact, and it may pay for itself in other avoided costs.”

All county supervisors except three — Matt Sokol and David Strainer of Queensbury and Evelyn Wood of Thurman — voted for the amended exemption change.

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