NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Ahead of the Veterans Day holiday on Monday, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman proposed legislation to make home ownership more affordable for New Yorkers fighting overseas.
As WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported, there is already a property tax exemption for veterans, but Schneiderman’s proposal would extend it to active-duty service members.
“The people who are fighting to protect our rights, our freedom, our way of life should not have to wait for the benefits of ownership until they end their service,” said Schneiderman. “A 20 percent exemption from property taxes is a big deal.”
The Tax Relief for Active Military Service Act – or TRAMS Act – would allow those serving in the military or their spouses to apply for a tax exemption on 10 percent of the assessed value of their homes. This exemption from local and county property taxes would be capped at $10,000 in home value in most parts of the state.
“Given all of the sacrifices they make for us, this is the least we can do for them,” said Schneiderman.
Active-duty service members who serve in combat zones could receive an additional 10 percent exemption, capped at $8,000 in home value. The exemption would apply to members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and Reserves, according to the AG’s office.
“This is a game-changer for veterans and active duty across New York,” Paul Rieckhoff, founder and CEO of the group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said. “When you’re trying to transition home, a couple hundred bucks can go a long way.”
“This would give us some breathing room,” Danylo Rakowsky, an Iraq war veteran from Brooklyn, told Haskell.
Under the proposal, the state would pick up the tab at a cost of about $2 million a year.
The state has nearly 25,000 active-duty service members. Schneiderman’s office notes that while 54 percent of New Yorkers own their homes, the rate among service members in 32 percent.
The bill requires the approval of the state legislature.
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