February 9, 2014

School Board urged to exempt veterans from school tax

Awaiting vote to allow school-tax exemptions for veterans in city

PLATTSBURGH — The public is being urged to attend an open forum Thursday, Feb. 13, on veteran school-tax exemptions.

At its most recent meeting, Plattsburgh City School Board chose to delay action until its next session on the exemption, which districts are allowed, but not mandated, to offer.

A decision on board-member term limits was also delayed until Feb. 13.


Legislation signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in November 2013 authorized school districts to offer partial school-tax exemptions to military veterans. Individual school boards must decide whether to do so and how much property value to exempt.

Veterans eligible for the program are divided into three categories: wartime, combat zone and disabled.

Basic wartime veterans qualify for low-end exemptions while disabled veterans can be offered the highest exemptions.

The lowest allowed exemptions are $6,000 worth of property for wartime vets, $10,000 for combat zone and $20,000 for disabled veterans.

The highest allowed exemptions are $27,000 for wartime, $45,000 for combat zone and $90,000 for disabled vets.

For the exemptions to be applied for the current tax season, they would need to be approved before March 1.

That would remove the option of allowing district residents to make the decision as part of the May budget vote.


Speaking during the public-comment portion of the last meeting, North Country Honor Flight director Danny Kaifetz, himself a veteran, urged the board to authorize the new exemption as a gesture of gratitude for the efforts of this region’s service members.

He said it is “incomprehensible that you could conceive of placing a higher value on budgets than on our service to our nation.”

Kaifetz voiced frustration that much of the conversation surrounding the exemptions had focused on the financial details and urged the board to keep in mind the moral value of providing the tax cuts.

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