Vet’s exemption unfunded

To the Valley News:

School boards across NY are having to consider whether to give a “veteran’s exemption” to partially exempt some veterans from paying the school taxes on their homes. A 2013 NY state law authorized this but did not provide any funds for the lost taxes, unlike the STAR exemption arrangement where the state makes it up.

Isn’t that nice? The legislature says, “you can honor them with a tax break but have the other taxpayers foot the bill” - but you non-veterans will have to pick up the slack. In Plattsburgh it was calculated to be a $12 to $58 per house tax increase to cover this “honor.”

Most veterans are not homeless, nut cases, down-and-out nor even poor. I was raised in a veteran’s home: my father and his five brothers were in WWII, my grandfather in WWI, and my mother’s brother was killed in the Battle of the Bulge. I enlisted in the Army myself and have stayed in regular contact with lots of veterans. Never once, in that 50 years have I heard any solder or veteran say: “I don’t want to pay my share of school taxes after I get out.” In fact, I have heard many veterans say that the public support for quality schools, both public and parochial, was a major factor in where they chose to live.

Somebody, somewhere, probably in Albany, thought this new law would get them some votes or maybe a veteran’s organization’s support. Most of us old soldiers, though, will figure this out and won’t like being bought off with our own money. School boards should not feel guilty about using the childrens’ school money for education instead of politically-motivated “honors” to veterans.

To the School Boards: Say “no” to this unfunded mandate. Tell Albany to find its own money to give away, not the childrens’ school tax money.

Philip Williams

Saranac Lake

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