Saying it’s time to help ease the burden of rising property taxes for our seniors, John DeStefano – Democratic candidate for governor – is announcing a plan to freeze property tax rates for seniors and use a new millionaire’s tax to pay for it.
The tax freeze would take effect on the 2007 property tax bills and affect approximately 150,000 senior households who meet income eligibility requirements. (DeStefano)
Wait. I thought taxing the income of the rich was going to pay for education? Is this in addition to that tax?
Setting that aside, it seems like a good idea on the face of it. How will it work?
· Seniors 65 and older whose annual income is $46,000 or less for a single person or $54,000 or less for a couple living together, are eligible to use the program. Income limits would be adjusted annually for inflation.
· Towns will be reimbursed 100% for the revenue lost as a result of the tax freeze.
· Seniors will apply one time to their town assessor to be eligible for the tax freeze. Every year thereafter the assessor will require certification with the tax bill that the senior(s) remain eligible.
· At the sale of the house, or the death of the owner occupant, the tax freeze will end. Should a surviving spouse over the age of 62 acquire the house through the death of the homeowner, the tax freeze will continue.
· Seniors can continue to use any existing tax benefits including the “circuit breaker.”(DeStefano)
Reimbursing towns for the lost revenue... wait. Weren't towns promised reimbursement for lost revenue for some other tax cut proposal? And wasn't that one of the sticking points-- municipalities feeling they wouldn't see a full reimbursment?
Still, it's certainly not a bad idea, and it's a step in the right direction. It isn't the sort of radical property tax reform I was half-expecting DeStefano to come out with, but it would be a benefit to poorer seniors.
"DeStefano announces property tax freeze for seniors." DeStefano for Connecticut. Press Release, 17 July, 2006.