During her State of the City Address, Speaker Quinn announced legislation sponsored by Assembly Member Cusick and Senator Lanza to redefine the exemption as a fixed percentage of billable assessed value, like most other exemptions.
New York, NY — City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, joined by State Assembly Member Michael Cusick, State Senator Andrew Lanza, Council Veterans Committee Chair Mathieu Eugene, Council Minority Leader James Oddo, Council Member Vincent Ignizio and Council Member Lewis Fidler, gathered to promote forthcoming legislation to reformulate the Veterans Property Tax Exemption. This change, requiring State law, is essential to address the exemption’s unpredictable and highly variable value, a byproduct of the way it is designed. The reformed Veterans Property Tax Exemption would, like other exemptions, be tied to the value of the home and property taxes, rather than fluctuate according to how much the City spends on schools. As a result, veterans will be given a stable and predictable tax break that is a fixed percentage of the value of their homes, and will increase in value when the value of their home rises. The Speaker announced the proposal during her State of the City address earlier this month.
“Although New York State has a homeowner’s tax exemption in place for our veterans, their homes are becoming less affordable,” said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “Through an oddity in the law, the value of their exemption rises and falls not with the value of their home, but with how much the City spends on its schools. So, the more we spend on schools, the less veterans get. I think we can all agree that we shouldn’t be punishing veterans every time we help students. That’s why we’re introducing State legislation sponsored by Assembly Member Cusick and Senator Lanza, to fix the problem. It’s the least we can do to thank the men and women who have done – and do – so much for our country.”
Veterans Exemptions are given to qualified veterans in recognition of their service to the country and community. The Veterans Property Tax Exemption is different from other property tax breaks in the system. For most exemptions, the exempt value is fully excluded from the property tax. However, with the current Veterans exemption under, the exempted value is only partially nontaxable, and the property owner must still pay the School Tax Rate on this value. The closer the School Tax Rate is to the Property Tax Rate, the less a Veterans Property Tax Exemption will be worth.
“The Veterans Tax Exemption is a valuable form of support we can provide to those who have served our country and made sacrifices to protect our freedom and way of life,” said Veterans Committee Chair Mathieu Eugene. “This tax break helps us give back to veterans by helping them afford their homes and show our gratitude for their service. However, under the current law, this exemption is tied to the school tax rate, which can unfairly hurt the value of a veteran’s exemption. I pledge to work together with the Speaker, my colleagues in the City Council and members of the State Legislature to reform this law and fix this problem.”
“I think our veterans have earned the right to some consistency in the exemption afforded to them on their property taxes,” said Council Minority Leader James Oddo. “Their service to this country was steadfast and the value of their property tax exemption should be grounded in that service not predicated on any other variable. It will take this bipartisan coalition to make this right and we need all of our vets to sign on for one more mission – their voices must be heard during this endeavor.”
“This is a great step in giving back to those who served. They certainly have earned this exemption,” said Council Member Vincent Ignizio.
“Veterans have already sacrificed for the future of our nation. They should not have to do it again when we increase spending on the City level, for the educational future of our children, said Council Member Lewis Fidler. “Restoring and maintaining the value of the Veterans Property Tax Exemption is simply the right thing to do.”