Legislature OKs Increase In Property Exemptions For Vets | News, Sports, Jobs

Legislature OKs Increase In Property Exemptions For Vets | News, Sports, Jobs

MAYVILLE — Local veterans are going to be getting a larger decrease on their property taxes.

During a meeting last week of the Chautauqua County Legislature, lawmakers unanimously approved two local laws, increasing the county’s real property tax exemption for war veterans, combat zone veterans, disabled veterans, as well as cold war veterans.

“It has been 20 years since we last increased the real property county tax relief for veterans,” said Legislator Susan Parker, D-Fredonia, who first brought up the idea. “In that time, we have seen the increasingly disabling health issues amongst our aging Vietnam era and Operation Desert Storm veterans. We have asked our service men and women to fight decades-long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that also oftentimes have health and disability consequences. But, whether our veterans have service-related health issues, we have asked a lot and we should do more to commend our veterans’ service.”

Parker added that she brought forth the idea after a constituent of hers approached her about raising the rates.

The current veterans exemption, which was adopted in 2002, is $6,000 for wartime, an additional $4,000 for combat zone, and $12,000 for service-connected disabilities. One of new local laws will increase the qualifying exemptions to $12,000, $8,000 and $40,000.

The second local law is for cold war veterans. Their exemptions will increase from $6,000 to $12,000 for cold war veterans and $20,000 to $40,000 for cold war disabled veterans.

They will become effective upon filing with the Secretary of State.

Other legislators expressed their support for the local laws as well.

“I’m happy to support these, in favor of the veterans,” said Legislator Elisabeth Rankin, D-Jamestown. “They deserve our consideration and our thanks. If we can do something to help make their lives a little better, than I’m happy to vote in favor of that.”

Legislator David Wilfong, R-Jamestown, agreed. “This is going to make a lot of difference in people’s lives and our veterans sometimes we forget about them. We forget some of the sacrifices they’ve actually had to do to make our country as free as it is. I just want to say thank you,” he said.

Legislator Bob Bankoski, D-Dunkirk, a veteran himself, feels the county can easily afford this. “It’s not a monumental cost to the county, but it’s a monumental savings for these veterans that could really use this support,” he said.

Both local laws increasing the exemption levels were unanimously passed.

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