Cuomo signs Savino property tax exemption bill

New law could mean financial boost for senior citizens

July 28, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The new law is designed to help senior citizens who own homes, elected officials said. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas
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Thousands of senior citizens in Brooklyn who up to now have not been eligible for a state program that gives older adults a break on their property taxes will finally be able to receive the financial boost, according to state Sen. Diane Savino.

Savino (D-Coney Island-Bensonhurst, Staten Island) was the main sponsor of a bill signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on July 26 that expands two programs: the Senior Citizen Homeowners’ Exemption (SCHE) and the Disabled Homeowners’ Exemption (DHE).

The programs provide property tax exemptions for older adults and disabled homeowners.

Specifically, Savino’s legislation raises the income cap for SCHE/DHE to $50,000 a year for a 50 percent property tax exemption and to $58,400 a year for a lower exemption. The last time the eligibility levels were raised was back in 2006, Savino said.

Savino, a member of the senate’s Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), said she and her fellow IDC members fought hard to get the state to increase the eligibility income level so that more senior citizens and disabled people could become part of the program. 

“Our seniors and disabled New Yorkers who live on fixed incomes deserve to reside in their communities without the fear of losing their homes,” Savino said in a statement. “Many of our senior citizens choose to age in place in the neighborhoods where they’ve raised their families, worked and enjoyed throughout their lives. I thank Gov. Cuomo for signing this important legislation into law. I look forward to helping my constituents sign up for this savings.”

Seniors could potentially save $1,000 a year through the exemption, according to Savino.

State Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn) also praised the signing of the legislation. 

“Our seniors and those with disabilities deserve to live without worrying about the financial burdens of property taxes. As legislators, it is important that we provide financial relief to those who truly deserve our help. Senior and disabled New Yorkers are valued neighbors of our community and deserve to be financially able to live where they choose,” Golden said in a statement.
The law will go into effect after the City Council passes legislation to enable the raised income levels, according to Golden.

The bill was endorsed by Mayor Bill de Blasio and was included in his Executive Budget. 
Once the Council takes action, a 120-day window opens up for people to apply for the program for this year. Homeowners who have already applied and who were denied will be re-processed.  If a resident is deemed eligible for the program and has already paid taxes, the New York City Department of Finance will issue a credit, Golden said. 

The programs operate through the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.


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