shortcutMar 24, 2018
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Board decides not to offer Alternative Veterans Tax Exemption

Exemption would shift financial burden to other taxpayers

The Schalmont Central School District Board of Education decided at its Feb. 26 to not offer the Alternative Veterans Tax Exemption for the coming year.

“While we support and appreciate our veterans, we could not in good conscience choose to shift the school tax burden from one group to another,” said Board president John DiCocco. “We have a responsibility to consider the ability of the entire community to pay for our students' education. Shifting the burden of the entire tax levy to nonveteran taxpayers, many of whom are also suffering from financial burdens, is an impossible choice for any board of education to make within their community.”

Implementing a tax exemption causes a redistribution of taxes among taxpayers, or a tax shift to those who do not qualify for the exemption. Exemptions do not affect the tax levy – the total amount of money a district needs to raise.

DiCocco noted that because of the district’s unusual area, which crosses five towns and 3 counties, the disparity in how the exemption would affect the local tax burden would be disproportionate for several of our towns. While homeowners in Guilderland or Rotterdam might see a relatively modest increase per $100,000 of assessed value if the board approved the exemption, taxpayers in other parts of the district would see double-digit increases to their tax burden.

Unlike STAR, the alternative veterans’ tax exemption is not reimbursed by the state to school districts. Instead, the exemption reduces the total assessed value of properties within a district. If the Board of Education decides to offer the exemption to veterans, all other property owners will have to pay more in taxes to make up for the loss in value.

The Schalmont Board of Education has long held that the issue of fairness has to be considered alongside the issue of honoring veterans.

“With this law in place, the state has put school districts in the position to argue neighbor versus neighbor, and that isn’t how exemptions should be put into place,” the board has stated.

Click here to read more about the Veterans Tax Exemption.