By; Arthur Popowitz
On Veterans Day, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer called on the City and State to deliver economic relief to tens of thousands of veterans struggling through New York City’s affordability crisis.
Stringer’s plan would expand an existing tax relief program to target support to veterans who are renters – providing an estimated 32,000 low-income veterans with new support.
“In New York City, we honor and recognize the service and sacrifice that veterans have made to our country – and we must do more to recognize the hardships faced by veterans in our city,” said Stringer in a statement. “On Veterans Day, and every day, we must recommit to supporting our veterans. It’s on us to stand up for veterans struggling through our affordability crisis, and we can honor their service by guaranteeing real relief.”
New York State and New York City’s current veteran-targeted tax credit programs leave tens of thousands of veterans without much-needed support – notably among veterans who rent their homes, said a release. At the same time, many veterans are struggling economically as the median income for New York City veterans is $35,000, compared to $57,000 citywide. Veterans are also more likely to experience homelessness. Comptroller Stringer’s proposal would expand on an existing program to address these limitations and support New York City’s veterans.
Currently, veterans who are homeowners can receive tax exemptions to reduce their property taxes by as much as 25% if the veteran served in a combat zone and as much as 50% if the veteran was disabled as a result of their military service, said the release. According to the latest statistics, approximately 45,000 New York City veteran homeowners received property tax exemptions totaling $47 million, an average of just over $1,000.
Stringer is calling for a new Veterans’ Renter’s Tax Credit, modeled on the existing NYC Enhanced Property Tax Credit program. Comptroller Stringer proposes revising the credit to ensure that low income veterans who rent receive equivalent support as homeowners by making the refund more generous – the average credit last year was $39 for renters – and raising the maximum credit for veterans to $1000. The Comptroller’s office estimates this expanded benefit would provide over 32,000 low income veterans an average benefit of nearly $653 at a total cost of $21 million, a small amount compared to the total residential property taxes of more than $13 billion.