Golden Bill To Allow For Tax Exemption Selection By Owner Becomes New York State Law

Martin J. Golden

August 18, 2006

Brooklyn- State Senator Martin Golden (R-C, Brooklyn) said today that Governor Pataki has signed into law his legislation to eliminate certain barriers for senior citizens and the disabled to receive property tax exemptions (S. 7075).

The legislation clarifies the intent of the current law that individuals who are elderly or disabled should be able to choose the exemption that is best for them. As written, the law had required that property owners can only be eligible for one of the exemptions, a requirement which has led to problems where owners eligible for both the senior and the disabled exemptions find that they can take neither.

Additionally, the law makes it clear that property owned by multiple owners who are eligible for the persons with disabilities exemption or the senior exemption can receive other exemptions, such as those for School Tax Relief (STAR), veterans, etc. Although this was the intent of current law, the language in the law makes it difficult to understand and thus, eligibility at times was mistakenly not approved.

"We want to encourage people in New York to remain in their own homes and in their own communities as they age or if they are or become disabled," Senator Golden said. "The studies show that people who can do this are happier and healthier, and live longer and with a greater quality of life. There is also the practical matter that a tax break to a senior or a disabled person is less costly that paying for Medicaid to keep that same person in a nursing home or other facility."

Senator Golden continued, "To me, this is a common sense more than a financial issue," he said. "People are happier and healthier when they can remain in their own communities, and it is less expensive for the rest of us to help them stay there. That’s why, as chair of the Senate Aging Committee, I have pursued an approach of developing programs that help seniors and the disabled to keep their independence, dignity, and retain their freedom of choice."

The law will take effect on January 1, 2007.