Wednesday, October 21, 2009

WHITE PLAINS – Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano is proposing local legislation that would allow Westchester veterans who served during the Cold War era to cash in on the maximum real property tax exemption authorized under state law and already given to their counterparts who served during a time of war.

The legislation would allow the county to opt into a state law that would grant a reduction in the amount of county property taxes paid by veterans who served in the military during the Cold War period. The new exemption benefit would apply to veterans who were on active duty in the U.S. armed forces between September 2, 1945 and December 26, 1991, and who live in cooperative apartments, condos or single-family homes.

“These men and women served their country with the same dignity and pride as other veterans and should be entitled to the same benefits,” Spano said. “Hopefully local municipalities will follow our lead and choose to offer a similar exemption on their share of the tax bill.”

The state initially broadened the definition of “veteran” in 2007, when the real property tax law was amended to include those who served in the Cold War. More recently, the state revisited the issue, increasing the exemption benefit and including veterans who live in cooperative apartments. The latter piece is especially important in Westchester County, as it has thousands of co-ops.